Brownlow Preview

20-minute Quarters are back. Crowds are back. The G is back. Hook it to my veins, the traditional game is back!!

The 2020 season just never felt right. 2020 across the board wasn’t right. We’ve cleared our spreadsheet though and only looking forward from here on in. Arguably one of the greatest punting events of the modern era, it only takes a quick glance at 2021’s Brownlow market to realise just how stacked the field of contenders is.

Four past winners fill the top seven spots, and all are superstars in their own right. When there’s a proven long-term trend of votes channelled to the stars of the game as well, how can they be ignored?! Well, we’re mostly ignoring them. For reasons discussed further along but to put it simply, this far out we see more value in some emerging stars. A few that may raise some eyebrows as well…

Without further ado, it’s time to breakdown the contenders and some of the diamonds in the rough:


Lachie Neale ($7 – $8) – The 2020 runaway Brownlow Medal Winner. On a per-game vote basis, no-one has ever had a better season. Extrapolated, his 1.82 votes per game equates to 40 votes playing a full regular season. With 10 three votes games, 2020 was a monster year for the Ex-Docker and so hard to ignore when we consider our investment for 2021. Maybe our investment in 2020 fav Patrick Cripps is still fresh in our mind but this far out, it’s difficult for us to consider the Lions midfielder value at the short price.

Patrick Cripps ($11.5-$12) – Became a gift to the under-disposal punters throughout the year. A mixture of injury, difficulty shaking the tag and limited depth in the Blues midfield meant he was carrying too much. Zac Williams and the growth of Sam Walsh will undoubtedly help with the workload, but the Blues captain remains the #1 focus of opposition planning. Only 29% of games (5 of 17) did he manage to collect 23 or more disposals in 2020. Until he proves he can shake a tag and hit the scoreboard more, he looks under the odds

Dustin Martin ($12.5 – $14) – Another that looks under the odds for us. Likely to be managed and put in cotton wool at times during the year in preparation for another onslaught come September. Arguably the best ‘big game player’ of our generation, the Tigers have the luxury of resting him up forward. In 2020 when collecting 23+ disposals, Dusty polled 100% of the time averaging 2.33 votes. When he didn’t, he polled just the 1 vote from 10 games. That’s why we’re looking elsewhere. 2021 will be predominantly spent forward again and as we all know…this is a midfielder’s award.

Marcus Bontempelli ($13 – $14) – The pre-season hype pick and hard to ignore. Take the pre-season game with a grain of salt but he looks like he’s on the verge of taking his game to the next level. A classy midfielder who hits the scoreboard, he looks right in the sweet spot at 25yrs of age. Combined with the addition of Adam Treloar who may just free him up that little bit more, the Bont has us investing.

Nat Fyfe ($13.5 – 14) – Injuries/ stray elbows and a team unlikely to figure in September. When you add all that up and consider a young emerging midfield that may see him playing fwd more, we feel there’s better value in others.

Christian Petracca ($18-$19) – Had amassed 5 total Brownlow votes before his breakout year in 2020. Equal 3rd and an AA guernsey rocketed the Dees midfielder to elite status but is the one year enough to invest your hard-earned? Quite possibly. Rarely was he beaten 1 on 1 and when presented with a tag, he has the ability to hit the scoreboard. More enticing though, when you normalise his 2020 stat line to account for shorter quarters, you’re looking at a 28 disposal/ 1 goal/ 5 clearances type average which is right in the sweet spot of averages of past winners. Worth considering.

Patrick Dangerfield ($21-25) – Last genuine throw at the stumps for a Premiership? Do the acquisitions of Jeremy Cameron and Shaun Higgins push him back to the midfield? How troublesome is the groin injury that lingered last season and into this pre-season? The idea of him being re-deployed as a permanent midfielder has piqued our interest somewhat despite the uncertainty.

Matt Rowell ($21-$22) – Happy to be proven wrong but just can’t. He’s a 4 and ½ game playeR.

Jack Steele ($32-$38) – Took the umpires 7 rounds to find him last year but when they did, he polled, missing votes only 3 games thereafter. Trending in the right direction and one who’s difficult to stop because he can accumulate all while doing a stopping role himself. Standout in a midfield not noted for its stars and with the Saints only trending north themselves, we like Jack Steele.


Josh Kelly ($80-$90) – Class personified. Josh Kelly is the complete package but just needs to be handled with care. Represented in the price but not since 2017 has he managed a full season without injury. Over the preseason, however, the whispers say he’s flying. So much so he won the 2km time trial for the club. Strong inside the contest, and as damaging as anyone on the outside, if he stays on the park, the $80-$90 range feels like a steal.

Jordan De Goey ($100+) – Treloar gone, there’s a spot available in the midfield and De Goey has been earmarked to serve more time there. 27 disposals and two goals vs Richmond in their one hitout was a fair return. Happy to play at the long odds.

Toby Greene ($100+) – The eyebrow-raiser. The most polarising character in the game just happens to be a jet. Unfortunately, he’s just a little misunderstood but if he managed to stay out of trouble, you just never know. Polled 3 votes in 4 games last year and not one had a disposal count of over 19. He gets noticed. Sometimes for the good.

Betting Strategy – 5 units total

BACK (WIN) — Bontempelli for 1.5 units

BACK (WIN) — Dangerfield for 1 unit

BACK (WIN) — Steele for 1 unit

BACK (WIN) — Petracca for 0.5 units

BACK (WIN) — Josh Kelly for 0.5 units

BACK (WIN) — De Goey for 0.25 units

BACK (WIN) — Green for 0.25 units

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