The Brownlow Medal had a runaway winner in 2020 as Brisbane’s Lachie Neale triumphed by 10 votes.
In 2019, Fremantle’s Nat Fyfe won the award by six votes, despite not adding anything to his tally in the final two rounds.
But if some predictions are to be believed, this year’s Brownlow Medal race could be a cliffhanger.
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For the first time since Richmond’s Dustin Martin pipped Geelong’s Patrick Dangerfield with three votes in Round 23 of 2017, the winner could be decided in the final round.
And, coincidently, the two Brownlow Medal favourites — Western Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli and Port Adelaide onballer Ollie Wines — are set to face off against each other at Marvel Stadium on Friday night.
Port Adelaide’s Ollie Wines is the leader in the Herald Sun’s Player of the Year Award. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
The Herald Sun Player of the Year leaderboard after Round 22 has Wines on top with 32 votes, with Bontempelli only one big game behind on 30 votes.
Champion Data’s Brownlow predictor also suggests a tight race, with Wines leading with 28.36 votes and Bontempelli sitting third with 23.39 votes.
While Wines is ahead of Bontempelli on both of those leaderboards, the bookmakers have a different view.
Bontempelli is a $2.50 favourite for the Brownlow Medal with TAB, just ahead of Wines at $4.50.
“Bontempelli has been prominent in TAB’s Brownlow market since it opened and we’re holding more money on him than any other player,” TAB spokesman Brad Bishop said.
“But Wines is a bad result on account of some smart bets at massive odds of up to $81 early in the year. He’s emerged as the clear main danger to Bontempelli and it’s fascinating that they’ve drawn to play each other in the final round. If Port wins and Wines has a huge game, we might see Bontempelli out to $3 or so and Wines in tighter than $4.”
Western Bulldogs star Marcus Bontempelli is a top Brownlow Medal contender in 2021. Picture: Michael KleinSource:News Corp Australia
Wines and Bontempelli have each played 21 games this year.
Wines is averaging more disposals (32 to 27.8), more marks (4.3 to 4) and more clearances (6.1 to 5.5)
Bontempelli is averaging more metres gained (557m to 444m), more goals (1.2 to 0.4) and more score involvements (7.7 to 6.4).
Leading football analyst Mick McGuane said he was still tipping Bontempelli for the award, despite a quieter past fortnight from the Bulldogs captain.
“I’ve got him as my favourite,” McGuane said of Bontempelli.
“When he touches the footy, it turns to gold.
“His past couple of weeks haven’t been Bontempelli-esque but only he and the Bulldogs can answer what their mindset has been like. They’ve just got to get to work this week to cement a top-four spot and I’d be surprised if Bontempelli doesn’t lead the charge.”
Originally published asBont or Wines: Will Dogs v Port decide Brownlow?
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