Saturday, 24 March 2012

AFL season prediction: The individual awards

Brownlow Medal

I've seen a number of people tip Buddy Franklin as a potential Brownlow medallist this season, but it's hard to see him taking it away from the clutch of midfielders who usually dominate the voting. He has polled well in the past, but even the best forwards struggle to be as consistent as the mids. Gary Ablett should also be in contention, and I'd love to see him take home a second Charlie to cement himself as an all-time great. However, the Suns will lose lots this year, so he'll struggle to pick up many 3-voters and may have to settle for another top 5 finish.

My pick will come from a team who'll win the majority of their games, and I'm picking a player the umpires love, Joel Selwood. Long thought of as a potential winner of the award, I believe he'll be inspired after being named the new captain of the Cats. It'd also be great to see a couple of new players up there this year, and Dustin Martin & Nathan Fyfe both have the games to poll highly and consistently.

Coleman Medal

Whilst I'm not convinced Buddy Franklin can win the Brownlow this year, he deserves favouritism for the Coleman Medal after picking up his second award last season. However his final total of 71 in 2011 was the lowest for a winner since 1975, and even if he improves on that figure this year I'm not convinced it'll be enough to take home the medal.

Jack Riewoldt notched up 78 majors in 2010 to win the award, and managed another 62 in an underwhelming season last time round. With the improvement I see in the Tigers this season, I think he's definitely capable of 80+ goals in 2012, which should be enough to see him take home his second Coleman Medal.

AFL Rising Star Award

Dyson Heppell won the AFL Rising Star Award last year, ending a run of midfielders claiming the honour. This year I think another non-midfielder will flourish, with John Butcher being my pick to take home the accolade. As previously mentioned in this blog, Butcher played 4 games last year for the Power, picking up 11 majors. He's fast with good agility, and has an excellent set shot technique, managing to capitalise on most of the opportunities that come his way.

Leigh Matthews Trophy (AFL MVP)

There's usually a different winner of the Leigh Matthews Trophy to the Brownlow Medal, with Gary Ablett (2009) and Ben Cousins (2005) being the only players this century to take out both awards in the same year. This year I believe the Leigh Matthews Trophy will come down to a 3-way battle between some of the game's biggest stars; Gary Ablett, Scott Pendlebury & Lance Franklin. Despite me having him missing out on both the Brownlow & Coleman Medals, I think Buddy will have a great year and his peers will pick him out as the MVP of their league.

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