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As this year’s topsy-turvy and unpredictable AFL season grounds towards the end of the home-and-away season, the terms ‘Nick Daicos’ and ‘Brownlow favourite’ became intricately linked.
But the young gun Magpie’s untimely knee injury – a hairline fracture suffered against Hawthorn in round 21 – threw a curveball into all Brownlow analysis and conjecture.
Could a star player still win the coveted individual award despite not polling any votes in the final four rounds?
Only time will tell whether Daicos, 20, takes the award, despite inevitable strong challenges from players such as Marcus Bontempelli, Christian Petracca and Zak Butters.
Ahead of next Monday night’s count, theage.com.au has done some vote crunching to compile our phantom Brownlow count – hypothetical 3-2-1 voting for each game to generate a potential leaderboard. You can download and print the guide below.
The phantom count is based on how votes were cast in The Age Footballer of the Year award, with scores out of 10 given to the best five players on the ground.
Petracca won The Age award ahead of Bontempelli, but rejigging the votes to match the conventional 3-2-1 Brownlow voting does reshape the leaderboard noticeably.
Get ready for some potential surprise, too. There’s a chance at least one ineligible player could be high on the leaderboard on Monday night, harking back to times such as the 1990s when ineligible players Chris Grant (1997) and Corey McKernan (1996) polled strongly but couldn’t win.
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