Can teammates work together to win football’s highest ‘individual’ award?
There has been a lot of talk in recent years about how Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca have (or will) cost each other a Brownlow during their careers because they “steal” votes off each other. But how many (if any) Brownlow medals would they have won thus far if two players from the same team could “share” the award?
For this hypothetical scenario, I’ve looked at the top two vote-getting players per team per year from 2000 to 2022 to see which duo would come out on top, and how the Brownlow landscape would have changed under this system. I have excluded ties for simplicity’s sake (i.e., if two or more players polled the same number of votes, I picked one of them at random), such as when Darren Jarman and Simon Goodwin both polled 10 votes behind Andrew McLeod in 2001, or when Brendan Fevola, Scott Camporeale, Heath Scotland, and Matthew Lappin were joint leading vote getters for Carlton in 2004 (nine votes each). See here for a full list of ties.
To start with, let’s look at how many votes Oliver and Petracca have polled during their career.
Table: Brownlow votes for Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca by year
Based on the table above, it appears Oliver and Petracca would only go closes to a shared Brownlow medal in 2021 and 2022. And as can be seen from the table below, they would only get to take Charlie home in 2022, with their 49 votes putting them six votes clear of Patrick Cripps and Sam Walsh (43 votes between them). Their combined 54 votes in 2021 would still have been short of Ollie Wines and Travis Boak’s 61 votes that year.
Table: Original and “Shared” Brownlow winners, 2000-2022
|Year||Original Winner(s)||Shared Winners|
|2000||Shane Woewodin (24)||Shane Woewodin (24) and Adam Yze (14)|
|2001||Jason Akermanis (23)||Jason Akermanis (23) and Michael Voss (19)|
|2002||Simon Black (25)||Simon Black (25) and Michael Voss (17)|
|2003||Nathan Buckley, Adam Goodes, and Mark Ricciuto (22)||Mark Ricciuto (22) and Andrew McLeod (18)|
|2004||Chris Judd (30)||Chris Judd (30) and Chad Fletcher (10)|
|2005||Ben Cousins (20)||Ben Cousins (20) and Daniel Kerr (19)|
|2006||Adam Goodes (26)||Daniel Kerr (22) and Chris Judd (21)|
|2007||Jimmy Bartel (29)||Jimmy Bartel (29) and Gary Ablett (22)|
|2008||Adam Cooney (24)||Gary Ablett (22) and Joel Selwood (19)|
|2009||Gary Ablett (30)||Gary Ablett (30) and Joel Selwood (16)|
|2010||Chris Judd (30)||Gary Ablett (26) and Joel Selwood (21)|
|2011||Dane Swan (34)||Dane Swan (34) and Scott Pendlebury (24)|
|2012||Trent Cotchin and Sam Mitchell (26)||Scott Thompson (25) and Patrick Dangerfield (23)|
|2013||Gary Ablett (28)||Joel Selwood (27) and Steve Johnson (25)|
|2014||Matt Priddis (26)||Lance Franklin (22) and Josh Kennedy (21)|
|2015||Nat Fyfe (31)||Nat Fyfe (31) and David Mundy (19)|
|2016||Patrick Dangerfield (35)||Patrick Dangerfield (35) and Joel Selwood (18)|
|2017||Dustin Martin (36)||Patrick Dangerfield (33) and Joel Selwood (13)|
|2018||Tom Mitchell (28)||Three-way tie (41 votes)|
|2019||Nat Fyfe (33)||Patrick Dangerfield (27) and Tim Kelly (24)|
|2020||Lachie Neale (31)||Lachie Neale (31) and Jarryd Lyons (9)|
|2021||Ollie Wines (36)||Ollie Wines (36) and Travis Boak (25)|
|2022||Patrick Cripps (29)||Clayton Oliver (25) and Christian Petracca (24)|
Steele Sidebottom (24) and Brodie Grundy (17), Tom Mitchell (28) and Jaeger O’Meara (13), and Angus Brayshaw (21) and Max Gawn (20)
Nine of the 23 Brownlow medals would change hands (to some extent – I’m not counting 2003 and 2018 as ‘changing’ because one of the original winners still would have won) in this hypothetical universe, but I can’t decide if this is more or less than I expected. However, it is interesting to see how close the top two vote getters for a team are in some years (e.g., Kerr and Judd in 2006) but how far apart they are in others (e.g., Neale and Lyons in 2020).
Speaking of Lachie Neale, let’s take a moment to remember he polled in 11 of his 17 games in that covid-affected season. Thirty of his votes came in ten games, as he was awarded the three votes in rounds 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 16, and 18. This puts him behind only Dustin Martin in terms of the most three-vote games in a season (who had 11 in 2017).
Neither Nathan Buckley (with Shane Woewodin, 12 votes) or Adam Goodes (with Jude Bolton, 13 votes) would have caught the Ricciuto and McLeod team in 2003, while the 2018 count must have been much more even than I remember.
Both Trent Cotchin (with Brett Deledio, 13 votes) and Sam Mitchell (with Brad Sewell, 13 votes) would have been well short of Adelaide’s Thompson and Dangerfield in 2012. Even Jobe Watson (30 votes) and Brent Stanton (14 votes) would have fallen short, had Essendon not been hit with penalties for the supplements program.
And I’m not sure how any non-Geelong (and potentially Adelaide) fans would feel about Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield being six- and four-time Brownlow medallists (respectively) in this hypothetical universe.
It will be interesting to see how Oliver and Petracca perform in this year’s count, given the number of games Oliver has missed due to injury. And while one, or both, may win a Brownlow medal eventually, this method of attempting to cancel out any potential vote “stealing” suggests this may not have been as big of a deal as people are making it out to be (at least for Oliver and Petracca)?
The timeframe of this stat is limited based on what data are freely/easily available and/or accessible. Please let don’t hesitate to contact me if you spot any errors in what I have presented. As always, apologies to anyone who has already looked at this stat.