It’s hard to see the Saints repeating the heroics which saw them have four players in the Baldock Medal’s top five last season. Just six wins for the year will make three-vote games rare. They were also beaten by more than 60 points on six occasions, with no players likely to pick up votes on those matches.
Most Votes: Clint Riley: Another great season but the question will be whether he can secure enough three-vote games to secure back-to- back medals.
Dark Horse: Tyrone Morrison: A couple of eye-catching performances, but injury robbed him of consistency.
Draw a line through: Tyson Armstrong: Hasn’t been able to recapture the form which took him to equal fifth in last year’s count.
Zac Smith enters the count as one of the favourites. However, his team- mates may be the biggest problem to him becoming the first Cat since Tony Flint in 1987 to win the medal. The Cats have had an even spread of contributors all year, with votes likely to be spread.
Most Votes: Zac Smith: A great second half of the year, look for a four-game streak of possible best- on-ground performances between rounds 11 and 14.
Dark Horse: Sam Douglas: His ruckwork and contested marking made him the most dominant big man in the competition.
Draw a line through: Gregg Sharman: Will poll votes, but key talls rarely get the credit they deserve in what have become known as “midfielders awards.”
The only team to have beaten both Latrobe and Wynyard this season has some genuine medal chances. Chris McDonald polled all 18 of his votes in The Advocate-Boag’s-Dowling McCarthy Tyres in three-vote games.
Most Votes: Chris McDonald: When he dominated his team dominated. The simplest formula to poll votes.
Dark Horse: Elijah Taylor: Underrated centreman who is always in the game, even if his side is down.
Draw a line through: Brad McDonald: A hamstring injury interrupted the second half of his season and his chances of a second consecutive top-three finish.
Despite only winning eight games for the year, the Swans had six games where they lost by 20 points or less. Given that in most of these games they were ahead at some stage, their players are very likely to attract some minor votes. Rodney Coghlan led the way in The Advocate-Boag’s-Dowling McCarthy Tyres award with 13 votes.
Most Votes: Rodney Coghlan: The first-year player has the key ingredients for polling votes – bald head, midfielder and a ball magnet.
Dark Horse: Nick Milbourne: Single-handedly kept his team in some games with his strong overhead marking and straight kicking.
Draw a line through: Sam Rundle: Potentially a very strong vote-getter, but injury prevented him from stringing together consistent games.
The premiership favourites had 18 players poll votes in The Advocate- Boag’s-Dowling McCarthy Tyres award, the most of any club. With 10 wins by 10 goals or more, expect the Demons to sweep the card on multiple occasions.
Most Votes: Josh Holland: How he hasn’t won the medal in the past is anyone’s guess, but surely Holland has served his apprenticeship and can confirm his standing as one of the most dominant players in the game.
Dark Horse: Brodie Deverell: You don’t kick 106 goals by being an average player. Kicked five or more goals on 13 occasions this year, which is sure to attract a vote or two.
Draw a line through: James Wescombe: Injuries restricted the usually silky Wescombe to 13 games this year and he failed to register a vote in The Advocate-Boag’s-Dowling McCarthy Tyres award.
The Robins started the year with a bang by beating reigning premier Latrobe. But from there it was slim pickings for Scott Blair’s men with only two more wins, both at home against Smithton, for the remainder of the year.
Most Votes: Josh Walmsley: Showed his sporting prowess was not only limited to the cricket field, with a breakout year for the Robins. Will poll well in the two wins against the Saints.
Dark Horse: Cameron Upton: Started the season well with a best- on-ground performance against the Demons and a strong showing against Smithton.
Draw a line through: The rest of the squad: Unfortunately for the Robins, it was a year they had to have, as they look to rebuild the playing list from the ground up.
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