From the honour to its award ceremony, the AFL’s Brownlow Medal is nothing short of its prestige. The Charlie, as it is informally known, recognises ‘the fairest and best player’ in the league. It is the highest individual award in the sport of Australian rules football.
With the preseason wrapping up, many are speculating over who can take the award in 2020. Take a look at the top contenders for the coveted medal:
Nat Fyfe, Fremantle Dockers
Being the current titleholder of the award, the Dockers skipper is looking to bag another medal in addition to his two (2015 and 2019). Last year’s season where he averaged 29 disposals was arguably his best season yet, racking up other awards such as his third All Australian jacket. He was also named captain of the All Australian team and won his third Doig Medal.
Pat Cripps, Carlton Blues
The Carlton co-captain is another standout player who has a lot of awards in his name. Since 2014, his average never went under 20 disposals a game in spite of competing in a team that grappled to find the ball. With an average of 28 disposals a game in 2019, Cripps came third in last year’s Brownlow.
Dustin Martin, Richmond Tigers
Debuting in 2010 as a good player, Martin became one of the competition’s best as he collected awards over the past few seasons. A two-time North Smith Medalist, three-time All Australian, two-time premiership player, two-time Richmond best and fairest, and a Brownlow Medalist, he will be in the hunt for another Charlie to his trophy cabinet.
Patrick Dangerfield, Geelong Cats
One of the competition’s best midfielders, Dangerfield is a consistent player who has yet to deliver an average under 27 disposals a game since his move from the Crows. If he can back up the form he has displayed since his move, he should be in the running to collect another Brownlow in addition to his 2016 medal.
Tom Mitchell, Hawthorn Hawks
Beyond belief, Mitchell has not averaged under 35 disposals a game since his move from the Swans. He has led the league for disposals, taking out the best and fairest in his first two seasons at the Hawks. He won a Brownlow in 2018 but spent the entirety of 2019 on the sidelines due to injury. Upon his return, he can be expected to poll votes.
Lachie Neale, Brisbane Lions
Neale, arising from an underperforming Dockers side, is now an important part of the Lions. He is a major ball winner who has never averaged under 27 disposals a game since 2014. Coming in third in the Brownlow last season, he can go one step further in taking the award this year.
Marcus Bontempelli, Western Bulldogs
For the newly appointed Bulldogs captain, the last AFL season was a career-best in which he averaged 26 disposals. This earned Bontempelli the Bulldogs best and fairest and his second All Australian team selection. He was also named player of the year as voted by the coaches.
Brodie Grundy, Collingwood Magpies
A career-best season for 21 disposals per game and 43 hit-outs per game, Grundy demonstrated that he is a rare sports commodity. His great athletic ability can also make him the first ruckman to poll the most Brownlow votes since Corey McKernan in 1996.