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Club by club: Your best Brownlow Medal pollers

with Giulio Di Giorgio (AFL Media)  September 26, 2017 10:02 AM

AFL 2017 Media - Brownlow Medal

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 25: Marcus Bontempelli of the Bulldogs looks on during the 2017 Brownlow Medal Count at the Crown Palladium on September 25, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

For the third successive year, young gun Marcus Bontempelli led the charge and was the Bulldogs' fast starter, polling votes in four of the opening seven rounds, thanks to his best-on-ground games against Sydney (round two), Greater Western Sydney (round six) and Richmond (round seven). The 21-year-old ended in seventh position on the overall leaderboard and well ahead of underrated midfielder Jack Macrae, whose exceptional year was recognised with just eight votes. Reigning Norm Smith medallist Jason Johannisen (seven votes) was in the club's top three players despite his form struggles. The Bulldogs polled 51 votes in total. 

Top five
19 - Marcus Bontempelli
8 - Jack Macrae
7 - Jason Johannisen
6 - Luke Dahlhaus
3 - Liam Picken
3 - Jake Stringer

Vice-captain Rory Sloane was the competition's fast starter, polling votes in five of the first six rounds to hold the outright lead leading into round 10. The 27-year-old earned votes in nine matches and finished the count in sixth position overall with 20 votes. Midfielder Matt Crouch, whose career-best campaign was rewarded with All Australian honours, polled 11 votes, while winger Rory Atkins and ruckman Sam Jacobs attracted 10 votes apiece and All Australian defender Rory Laird gathered nine. The Crows accumulated 88 votes overall, tying with Sydney for the most votes this year. 

Top five
20 - Rory Sloane
11 - Matt Crouch
10 - Rory Atkins
10 - Sam Jacobs
9 - Rory Laird

Captain Dayne Beams led the bottom-placed Lions' Brownlow Medal count with 17 votes. Midfielder Dayne Zorko, who this year claimed his third successive best and fairest, was the next best with 14 votes, but was ineligible after serving a one-match ban for striking Carlton defender Lachie Plowman in round 18, while big man Stefan Martindrew six votes. The Lions collected 47 votes.

Top five
17 - Dayne Beams
14 - Dayne Zorko*
6 - Stefan Martin
4 - Daniel Rich
2 - Eric Hipwood
2 - Tom Rockliff 

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Midfielder Bryce Gibbs, who sought a trade to Adelaide last NAB AFL Trade Period, didn't let that post-season distraction affect his performance for the Blues in 2017, polling 11 votes. Newly crowned best and fairest, skipper Marc Murphy, was next with nine votes followed by recently re-signed veteran Kade Simpson (eight). All Australian half-back flanker Sam Docherty, midfielder Patrick Cripps, reborn defender Liam Jones and ruckman Matthew Kreuzer (five votes apiece) rounded out the top five for the Blues, who tallied 53 votes across the season. 

Top five
11 - Bryce Gibbs
9 - Marc Murphy
8 - Kade Simpson
5 - Patrick Cripps
5 - Sam Docherty
5 - Liam Jones
5 - Matthew Kreuzer

Proven Brownlow performer Scott Pendlebury took the honours for the Magpies with 15 votes despite missing the last six games with a broken finger. Fourteen of the skipper's votes were netted before the mid-season bye. Pendlebury (165 career votes) surpassed Nathan Buckley (164) as the second-highest vote-getter in club history behind 2011 Brownlow medallist Dane Swan (186). Joint vice-captains Taylor Adams and Steele Sidebottomcapped consistent seasons by gathering 14 votes apiece, while ball-winner Adam Treloar earned 11 votes. The Magpies picked up 72 votes in total.

Top five
15 - Scott Pendlebury
14 - Taylor Adams
14 - Steele Sidebottom
11 - Adam Treloar
5 - Jordan De Goey 

All Australian midfielder Zach Merrett, who collected a team-high 19 Brownlow votes last year, received 15 votes but was ineligible after serving a one-game ban for striking Carlton's Lachie Plowman in round 20. Captain Dyson Heppell (14 votes) got off to the best possible start with three votes in round one against Hawthorn, while fellow onballer David Zaharakis was next on 11 votes overall. All Australian Joe Daniher, the 2017 Mark of the Year winner, gathered nine votes, including the maximum for his five-goal haul against Geelong in round eight. Essendon totalled 71 votes this season.

Top five
15 - Zach Merrett*
14 - Dyson Heppell
11 - David Zaharakis
9 - Joe Daniher
7 - Orazio Fantasia

Three Dockers polled double figures. Captain Nat Fyfe improved as the season wore on in his comeback from a broken leg. The 2015 Brownlow medallist, who featured in all but one game this season, picked up 15 votes. Ball magnet Lachie Neale (14 votes) and livewire Michael Walters (10) rounded out the club's top three players. Fremantle collected 57 votes in total. 

Top five
15 - Nat Fyfe
14 - Lachie Neale
10 - Michael Walters
5 - Connor Blakely
5 - David Mundy

Last year's Brownlow medallist Patrick Dangerfield secured 33 votes, but was ineligible after being suspended for a dangerous tackle on Carlton ruckman Matthew Kreuzer in round 19. The 27-year-old led the count by four votes after round 16, before eventually being overtaken by winner, Richmond's Dustin Martin. Dangerfield became the first player to collect over 30 votes in consecutive years. Captain Joel Selwood (13 votes), who missed the last three games through injury, was a fast starter by polling nine votes after the first five rounds. Mitch Duncan and Sam Menegola rounded out the Cats' leaders, although the duo, like Dangerfield, were ruled ineligible due to suspension. The club amassed 80 votes in total. 

Top five
33 - Patrick Dangerfield*
13 - Joel Selwood
11 - Mitch Duncan*
6 - Sam Menegola*
4 - Harry Taylor

Best and fairest Gary Ablett polled 14 votes across his 14 appearances this season to lead the way despite yet another injury-interrupted season. The 33-year-old dual Brownlow medallist, whose future at the club remains in doubt despite being contracted for 2018, amassed at least 32 disposals in each of Gold Coast's six wins and was duly recognised by receiving votes in four of those matches. Ablett entered the count equal-second for career votes – alongside Sam Mitchell – and climbed to outright second by the end of the night (234 votes), behind leader Gary Dempsey (246). Aaron Hall (10 votes), Jarryd Lyons (six) and co-captain Tom Lynch (four) were next for the Suns, who gathered 47 votes in total. 

Top five
14 - Gary Ablett
10 - Aaron Hall
6 - Jarryd Lyons
4 - Tom Lynch
3 - Brandon Matera

Recently re-signed All Australian midfielder Josh Kelly, who averaged 30 touches and six tackles per game in his incredible breakout season, featured heavily with 21 votes to finish in fifth place in the overall standings. Fellow All Australian ball-winner Dylan Shiel was prominent with 11 votes, trying with co-captain Callan Ward. Power forward Jonathon Patton and rebounding defender Zac Williams each collected six votes. The Giants accumulated 81 votes across the season. 

Top five
21 - Josh Kelly
11 - Dylan Shiel
11 - Callan Ward
8 - Toby Greene*
6 - Jonathon Patton
6 - Zac Williams

All Australian onballer Tom Mitchell, who smashed the all-time record for most possessions in a home and away season (787), took the points for Hawthorn with 25 votes, including a best-afield display in the round nine loss to Collingwood when he amassed a career-high 50 disposals. The 24-year-old former Swan finished second in the overall standings to cap a remarkable maiden season at the Hawks. Forward Jack Gunston (six votes), captain Jarryd Roughead (six) and evergreen utility Shaun Burgoyne (five) also had their names read out. Hawthorn collected 61 votes across the season. 

Top five
25 - Tom Mitchell
6 - Jack Gunston
6 - Jarryd Roughead
5 - Shaun Burgoyne
5 - Ben McEvoy
5 - Liam Shiels 

Second-year midfielder Clayton Oliver topped the count for the Demons with 12 votes on the back of his breakout 2017 campaign in which he averaged 30 possessions across 22 games. The 20-year-old shot up the Brownlow leaderboard early with four votes in the opening two rounds after his 36 and 35 disposals respectively. Defender Tom McDonald (nine votes), co-captain Jack Viney (nine), All Australian defender Michael Hibberd (seven) and co-skipper Nathan Jones (seven) were next for the Demons, who tallied 68 votes this season. 

Top five
12 - Clayton Oliver
9 - Tom McDonald
9 - Jack Viney
7 - Michael Hibberd
7 - Nathan Jones 

Key forward Ben Brown, who kicked a career-high 63 goals in 2017, was the Kangaroos' leading player with 14 votes. Tough inside midfielder Ben Cunnington also featured on the Brownlow leaderboard with 11 votes, but was ineligible after serving separate one-match bans this season, while maiden best and fairest winner Shaun Higginswas recognised for his personal-best season with nine votes. North tallied 40 votes this year – the lowest of any club. 

Top five
14 - Ben Brown
11 - Ben Cunnington*
9 - Shaun Higgins
3 - Jarrad Waite*
1 - Sam Gibson
1 - Mason Wood
1 - Jack Ziebell

Star midfielder Ollie Wines polled in nine matches to lead the Power's charge with 18 votes for the night and end in eighth place overall. The 22-year-old was joined by fellow onballer Brad Ebert (15 votes), All Australian forward Robbie Gray (12) and captain Travis Boak (10) to reach double figures, with the latter becoming the first Power player to collect 100 career votes. Port Adelaide ended the count with 84 votes. 

Top five
18 - Ollie Wines
15 - Brad Ebert
12 - Robbie Gray
10 - Travis Boak
8 - Charlie Dixon

Superstar Dustin Martin, who was the shortest priced favourite ever, caught the umpires' attention in 14 rounds, including an all-time record 11 best on grounds, to win his first Brownlow Medal and become the sixth Tiger to win the AFL's highest individual accolade. Martin's tally of 36 votes was the highest in history, breaking Cat Patrick Dangerfield's record of 35 set last year. Martin first took the outright lead in round 11 and was never seriously challenged from then on, especially given Dangerfield's ineligibility. The 26-year-old finished 28 votes ahead of the next Tigers, captain and 2012 Brownlow medallist Trent Cotchin, and All Australian backman Alex Rance (eight apiece). Richmond gathered 80 votes across the season. 

Top five
36 - Dustin Martin
8 - Trent Cotchin
8 - Alex Rance
7 - Shaun Grigg
6 - Jack Riewoldt 

Midfielder Seb Ross was the Saints' standout midfielder in 2017 and his efforts were fittingly rewarded with a team-high 14 votes. After picking up a career-high 16 votes last season, onballer Jack Steven was recognised for another solid season with 11, tying with youngster Jack Billings. Retired champion forward Nick Riewoldt featured in St Kilda's top five, collecting four votes to take his career tally to 153 votes after 336 games and 718 goals across 17 seasons. The Saints secured 57 votes across the season.

Top five
14 - Seb Ross
11 - Jack Billings
11 - Jack Steven
5 - Dylan Roberton
4 - Nick Riewoldt

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Captain Josh Kennedy finished the Brownlow count in the top three, earning 23 votes to be Sydney's highest vote-getter, even after missing three games through injury. In his first season as skipper, the 29-year-old led the Swans' revival after their poor 0-6 start. All Australian and Coleman medallist Lance Franklin attracted 22 votes to come in fourth place overall, last year's Brownlow runner-up Luke Parker accumulated 16 and star midfielder Dan Hannebery gathered six votes to help the Swans collect a total of 88 votes – the equal highest tally alongside Adelaide.

Top five
23 - Josh Kennedy
22 - Lance Franklin
16 - Luke Parker
6 - Dan Hannebery
4 - Isaac Heeney

Key forward Josh Kennedy took the points for the Eagles with 13 votes, with star midfield pair Luke Shuey and Andrew Gaff not too far behind on 10 and nine votes respectively. Retired Brownlow medallist Sam Mitchell ended his glittering 329-game career with seven votes to finish third on the all-time Brownlow leaderboard with 227 votes. Captain Shannon Hurn picked up seven, Elliot Yeo's standout season across half-back saw him secure just four votes and 2014 Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis received three votes in his last count. The Eagles accumulated 63 votes overall. 

Top five
13 - Josh Kennedy
10 - Luke Shuey
9 - Andrew Gaff
7 - Shannon Hurn
7 - Sam Mitchell