They say that a week is a long time in football. There is no doubt that Dustin Martin has achieved more this week than most AFL footballers will do in their career. However, if history repeats, he will not add a Norm Smith Medal to his growing collection on Saturday.
The week of a Brownlow medalist is a big one. A solid week of media commitments and appearances all play their part when you get to take ‘Charlie’ home. However, Brownlow medal aside, Dustin Martin already has enough on his plate at the moment. Martin is about to lead the Tigers to their first Grand Final appearance since E.T was in the cinemas. The Tigers faithful have a lot riding on Dusty, and a good game from their superstar will set them up for a Premiership. Martin is the red-hot favourite for claim best-on-ground honours on Saturday. However, we should not expect a standout game from the superstar if we look at recent history
I have some bad news for the Tigers’ fans. Martin is unlikely to win the Norm Smith Medal, or even have an above-average game. It is proven that Brownlow medal winners struggle to back up their week with a killer Grand Final. In fact, nobody has won a Brownlow Medal and a Norm Smith in the same season.
Winning the Brownlow before a Grand Final
Surprisingly, this Grand Final breaks a little drought. Not since Dane Swan in 2011 has a Brownlow medalist played in that season’s Grand Final. While six years may seem like short turnaround since 2000, we have had nine players in Martin’s position since the year 2000.
- Dane Swan 2011 (Loss)
- Gary Ablett 2009 (Win)
- Jimmy Bartel 2007 (Win)
- Adam Goodes 2006 (Loss)
- Ben Cousins 2005 (Loss)
- Nathan Buckley 2003 (Loss)
- Simon Black 2002 (Win)
- Jason Akermanis 2001 (Win)
- Shane Woewodin 2000 (Win)
Out of the nine players, there were no heroic match-winning performances. There are no Norm Smith Medal performances on this list. Hell, there weren’t even games above their average. Below are the average for each medalist’s Brownlow season statistics compared to their Grand Final performances.
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So if not Dustin Martin, then who?
Here is the fun part. Considering it is most likely that Martin is paying unders as the favourite, it opens the field as to who we can see claiming the medal.
The best bet
Yeah, I get it, Sloan is the second favourite to win the medal and the Crows player who is most likely. However, there is a good reason for that. Sloan dominated the Tigers in the round six clash and is likely to lead the Crows’ midfield all day long.
It is far less exciting naming the likely candidates like Sloan, Cotchin, and the Crouch brothers. The real speculation comes in finding the long-shot who can steal a medal.
Daniel Rioli found himself in some amazing spots and kicked some vital goals, starring in the preliminary final. Rioli is probing to be a big-game player, and I can see him raising his level again on Saturday.
Jacobs is the best tap ruckman in the league. Richmond average the least hitouts in the AFL. I can see Jacobs reaching 60 hitouts this weekend. In fact, he had 50 against the Tigers in round six this season. If sauce gives the Crows midfielders first use all day, then he will be a big chance.