The race to win the Brownlow Medal has been a fascinating one in recent seasons, awarded to first-time winners in each of the past four years. Following the huge surprise win by Matt Priddis in 2014, when the West Coast midfielder shocked the odds to pick up the award, the last three seasons has pretty much gone to script; Nat Fyfe winning it in 2015, Patrick Dangerfield in 2016 and Richmond’s Dustin Martin’s record-breaking win last year.
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While Fyfe, Dangerfield and Martin are all very much in the mix again this season, there are a number of other candidates who are also very much in contention this year. The likes of Luke Parker, current favourite Tom Mitchell, Marcus Bontempelli, Rory Sloane, Zach Merrett, Ollie Wines, Lachie Neale and Patrick Cripps have all established themselves as elite players in the AFL, and while most probably won’t be challenging for the title this year, all should be in with a chance next season.
Perhaps the most talented player to emerge this season has been Greater Western Sydney star Josh Kelly, who is being tipped by many to be a future Brownlow Medal winner. While this season is perhaps a little early for him, the fact Kelly is still in the top-ten contenders according to Oddschecker highlights just what a season he’s had for the Giants. Last year was only his fourth campaign in the AFL, and one which saw him move from the wing into midfield. But despite that, Kelly went on to break club records for disposals and tackles during a single season, averaging 29.5 disposals in 24 games.
It didn’t come as a massive surprise to see Kelly’s 2017 form earn him All Australian honours, as well as winning his first club champion award. Recording 25 disposals in 20 games and more than 30 on ten occasions, not to mention his record-breaking 43 against West Coast, Kelly proved that he is one of the most effective ball magnets in the league, capable of winning the ball both in close and on the outside. Now vice-captain of the Giants, Kelly hasn’t let the pressure get to him, against standing out as one of the league’s best young players, putting himself right up there with the likes of Fyfe, Martin and Dangerfield.
While he may never have the same physical attributes as those players, Kelly’s skill and intelligence make him equally as dangerous to opponents as his bigger rivals. One thing is for sure, the GSW star is definitely a player who will one day win a Brownlow Medal.