Brownlow stars align for Mitchell
Brownlow stars align for Mitchell

Brownlow Medal night tonight.

It's a night of so many changes since I first became enthralled back in the seventies and eighties.

Not all the changes have made for a better night!

Still, as I'm most unlikely to poll a vote who cares what I think.

Instead let me take a shot at who might collect most votes tonight.

I like Sam Mitchell. Which is not only a statement, it's a prediction.

I'd feel more confident if the AFL panel of umpires hadn't changed so much this season. Add to that Ray Chamberlain's season-long injury and a lot of new guys will be voting on this year's award.

Which is just another way of saying I believe in trends in the Brownlow.

Umpires often show their collective likes and dislikes within the voting.

The best example was probably Jimmy Bartel's win back in 2007.

Bartel was easily Geelong's best vote-getter in '04 (his third season) yet finished well back in his own club's Best and Fairest award.

But only two years later he was crowned a surprise runaway winner.

I must say I wasn't surprised by the win, but I had been by the 13 votes he'd received as a 20-year-old!

All that deep background is to make the point Hawthorn's Mitchell polled 30 votes last season (two less than the winner Dane Swan) despite being ineligible.

I expect he'll be a front-runner tonight.

Having said that, on the back of 15 votes last season Tiger Trent Cotchin might be his biggest danger. Ablett, Watson, Dangerfield and Scott Thompson are others with undeniable claims.

Best value for punters clearly is Collingwood's rising star Dayne Beams.

The West Australian

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