Formally called the Chas Brownlow Trophy but commonly known as the Brownlow Medal (and informally as “Charlie”) is awarded to the best and fairest player during the regular AFL football season. For those who don’t know how the Brownlow medalist is chosen, after each match the officiating umpires of every game convene and decide who the three most influential players of the game were. The umpires give 3 votes to the most influential player of the match, 2 votes to the second and a single vote for the third best player on ground.
The Brownlow is arguably the most prestigious award for an individual player in the AFL. It is widely acknowledged in the media as the highest individual honour in the sport of Australian Rules Football, however many Aussie rules football supporters consider the Leigh Matthews Trophy, more commonly known as the AFLPA‘s MVP Award is a more accurate reflection of the best player of the year as it is voted on by current players instead of umpires.
Brownlow Medal night is held on the Monday night before the Grand Final. Check your local TV guide for the exact date and time of the Red Carpet and the Live Brownlow Medal Count which is usually performed by the CEO of the AFL.
Who Won the last Brownlow Medal?
The 2017 AFL Brownlow Medallist was Dustin “Dusty” Martin from Richmond, probably the most deserving Brownlow winner in history and the fact that Dusty and Richmond went on to win the ultimate prize of the AFL Presmiership in 2017, means that he was undoubtedly the best player in the best team of the year. He not only won the Brownlow, he won it convincingly by scoring the maximum of 3 votes in 11 games, in one of the easiest choices the judges have had to make since Dangerfield won it. Martin ended up scoring the highest amount of votes in Brownlow Medal history with 36, beating the previous record of 35 set the prior year by Patrick Dangerfield.
Most Recent AFL Brownlow Medal Votes
Predictions For The Next Brownlow Winner?
The next winner of the Brownlow medal will often go underrated for some time until the bookmakers can no longer hide the fact that clever punters are placing large bets on certain players. Even the casual fan of AFL footy can see the coaches votes at the end of each game, the best on ground after each game and the stats available to punters now with books such as Champion Data’s AFL Prospectus, fantasy footy games like Dream Team and Super Coach among many others make predicting the next winner of the Brownlow Medal much easier than it has been in the past.
No award which hinges on the difficult choices that a few humans make on such a complicated game can ever be perfect, since no humans are perfect. However I think a good punter with time on their hands already has the tools available to predict the winner each year with a pretty high certainty. The problem is, so do the bookmakers. The best prediction you will ever make will come at the beginning of the year, before you, and the rest of the betting public has seen a breakout player be best on ground 15 times.
A great time to do your initial predictions are in the final few rounds and the actual Finals series of an AFL season. These tips have already been mentioned on this page, but I was thinking about writing a Brownlow Predictor program when it occured to me that it would probably be not much better than simply looking at the current odds available at your favourite online bookmaker. Nonetheless, it does sound like an interesting project, so I may end up putting a free Brownlow Medal Predictor on OzePunting.com just to see how well an amateur can go from publicly available information.
My Tips for Betting on the Brownlow
At the beginning of each year, there are always some players at great odds to take home the Brownlow Medal. Here are some things to take into account when trying to find a roughie for the Charlie.
- Bet on players in teams that will feature in the top 8.
Generally speaking, the winner of the Charlie will be from a team in the top 8.
- Pick players that don’t have too much team competition.
Being able to identify stand-out players in average to good teams can be an absolute gold-mine in tipping both the Brownlow medalist winner, and the more exotic betting options such as win/place, top 5 and most votes from each team type betting.
- Select players who will play in the midfield.
Many people call the Brownlow a “midfielders medal”, as those who play in the forward line, ruck or in defense rarely get noticed as much as the major ball-winners. Historically, midfielders poll a large percentage more votes than players in any other position. As the adage goes, the game is won and lost in the midfield.
- Find midfielders that are likely to avoid a hard tag.
Some outstanding players can handle a hard tag, while others will benefit in Brownlow votes from having a team-mate who’s considered more damaging by the opposition coach, therefore avoiding the first tag and having more room to gather the pill and catch the eyes of the umpires.
- Take a punt on breakout contenders.
In order to get the very best odds possible on the Brownlow medal, you need to place your bets before the season starts, or at the very latest, during the first several weeks of the fixture. Watching the pre-season games can give you a rough idea about a player entering their 5th or 6th year of regular footy who has had a role change, or is about to step up into the true ‘elite’ players of the game.
- Look at durability over past seasons.
Some players are a lot more durable than others, and one missed game through injury may very well cost your player an addition to the trophy cabinet. Obviously, you don’t want players that have a history of reports and suspensions as the medal is awarded to the best and fairest player of the year. If a player is suspended, they are disqualified from winning the award, even if they are voted the best player of the year.
- Look at recent polling history.
This is especially true if the votes and/or team are on the rise. Some players just don’t attract the attention of umpires, or may be fairly or unfairly treated differently due to the umpires’ perception or public image of a player. Others seem to nearly get a vote for simply stepping onto the field. Research how many votes a player has won in past years and see if there is a trend upwards. If there is also a probability of getting more votes due to retirements, role changes, more experience and so on, you may have found yourself a good candidate.
- Look closely at the exotic betting markets.
I made a killing a few years ago with multis. If you can find a bookmaker that will accept multi-bets on the most votes per team, do your research and you can almost guarantee that there will be a standout player in each team that is highly likely to finish with the most votes for their club. I would leave out some clubs with several star players who all attract a lot of votes such as Collingwood, Hawthorn, Geelong and Sydney, but the teams on the lower end of the ladder are usually very easy to predict who will poll the most votes for their club.
- Don’t discount Brownlow place betting.
If you’ve ever had a bet on a player who’s finished 2nd or 3rd then you will feel my pain. The good thing is, however, all online bookmakers allow you to bet on a player to come in a place. Depending on the bookmaker, this could be the Top 3 or the Top 5 place-getters. The odds are 1/4 of the win odds, which if you get your bets on early in the season, can still give you a good return on investment. I highly recommend place bets after several successive years of winning a lot more than my initial Brownlow fund outlay, thanks in part to only losing a single place bet.
Statistics, information and resources
- FootyWire’s Brownlow Medal Page
My favourite resource site for checking past statistics on the Charlie.
Past Brownlow Medal Winners & Total Votes
|2014||Matthew Priddis||West Coast||26|
|2013||Gary Ablett||Gold Coast||28|
|2008||Adam Cooney||Western Bulldogs||24|
|2005||Ben Cousins||West Coast Eagles||20|
|2004||Chris Judd||West Coast Eagles||30|
|2002||Simon Black||Brisbane Lions||25|
|2001||Jason Akermanis||Brisbane Lions||23|
|1998||Robert Harvey||St Kilda||32|
|1997||Robert Harvey *||St Kilda||26|
|1996||Michael Voss *||Brisbane Bears||21|
For the best and fairest winners prior to 1995, check here.
Latest Brownlow Medal News
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