Not since Matthew Richardson (Richmond) finished narrowly behind Adam Cooney (Western Bulldogs) in 2008 will there be as much universal investment in one man as there will be at this year’s Brownlow Medal.
That man is, of course, Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn.
After producing another dominant display on the weekend, there has been a groundswell of support for the 26-year-old to alter the course of the Brownlow Medal.
The game’s most prestigious individual accolade has been dominated by leather acquiring midfielder’s for a long time.
Since Peter Moore won his second Brownlow in 1984, only Jim Stynes (1991) and Scott Wynd (1992) have claimed the prize, while Adam Goodes won the first of his two in 2003 when he played predominantly as a ruckman.
AFL 360 co-host Gerard Whateley believes everyone will be hoping the 208cm monster finishes with the most votes, regardless of who they support or who their favourite player is.
“This has got a bit of Matthew Richardson about it. On the night, I suspect, we will all be emotionally invested in Gawn winning the Brownlow,” Whateley said on AFL 360 on Monday night.
After such a long focus on disposal counts, Whateley said it would be a landmark moment for the umpires if the trend was snapped on the last Monday of September.
“I think there is a collective yearning that the umpires are looking at the game in a broad enough sense he will be, if not leading the Brownlow, then right at the pointy end of contention,” he said.
“I think as good as it would be for Melbourne, as good as it would be for ruckmen, it would validate umpires to an enormous degree if they are able to shake the recent trend of just mass numbers and see a man dominating the game in such a rare way.
“Not just because of who he is, but what it would represent; the breaking away from just the prolific on-baller. Ruckmen monopolised the medal for about 12 years and then we’ve gone this whole time without one.
“Now we’ve got a man who is absolutely deserving, not that notion that he is suddenly worthy, but week on week on week on week. I sincerely hope that he is leading the Brownlow.”
Gawn is currently second favourite for the Brownlow Medal, behind Hawthorn ball magnet Tom Mitchell, who is ranked No. 1 for disposals, with out of contract West Coast star Andrew Gaff third favourite, who is ranked No. 2 for disposals.
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