Previewing the 2022 AFL Brownlow Medal – Includes Betting Odds, Contender Analysis, and Predictions

| January 18, 2022 12:43 pm PST

Predicting who will win the Brownlow Medal is a fun pre-season tradition for all AFL fans. Over the years, the league’s best and fairest award has been handed out 108 times to 89 different players.

Port Adelaide’s Ollie Wines scooped the prestigious prize last season. The midfielder received a record-equaling 36 votes in the 2021 count, finishing three votes clear of Marcus Bontempelli.

But who will win the Brownlow Medal in 2022? Well, I will attempt to answer that question in this post.

After assessing all the leading contenders, I will select a handful of sleepers to keep an eye on. First, though, let’s get the ball rolling by checking out the latest 2022 AFL Brownlow Medal betting odds.

2022 AFL Brownlow Medal Odds

Here are bookmakers’ odds for the 2022 Brownlow Medal. I have included the top 20 contenders here, but you can find more options at the top-ranked AFL betting sites.

If the bookies’ odds for the Brownlow Medal in 2022 are anything to go by, the race for the award is set to be fiercely competitive. With the top seven favorites priced between 6.00 and 11.00, any number of players could win the award.

As it stands, Ollie Wines is the frontrunner. The 2021 winner will aim to become the first player to win back-to-back Brownlow Medals since Robert Harvey all the way back in 1998.

Marcus Bontempelli and Sam Walsh are both priced at 7.00. Bontempelli came second in last season’s vote count, while Walsh finished fourth – three votes behind the Western Bulldogs captain.

After clinching the Norm Smith Medal in 2021, Christian Petracca is among the betting favorites for the 2022 Brownlow Medal. Fellow Demon Clayton Oliver completes the top five, having enjoyed a standout 2021 campaign.

Darcy Parish and Jake Steele come next, followed by five former Brownlow winners – Dustin Martin (2017), Lachie Neale (2020), Nat Fyfe (2015, 2019), Patrick Dangerfield (2016), and Tom Mitchell (2018).

There are some young guns to keep an eye on, too. 22-year-old midfielder Andrew Brayshaw continued to impress last season, while Gold Coast’s Matt Rowell was among the best young AFL players in 2021.

Right, it’s time to take a closer look at the top contenders.

Can Ollie Wines Win Back-to-Back Brownlow Medals?

Last season, Wines triumphed in one of the toughest-ever Brownlow Medal counts. Despite a record four players polling 30+ votes in 2021, Wines came out on top – equaling Martin’s record for the most votes polled under the 3-2-1 system.

That tells you everything you need to know about the resilience of this guy.

2021 BROWNLOW MEDAL STANDINGS
Ranking Player Club Votes
1st Ollie Wines Port Adelaide 36
2nd Marcus Bontempelli Western Bulldogs 33
3rd Clayton Oliver Melbourne 31
4th Sam Walsh Carlton 30
=5th Darcy Parish Essendon 26
=5th Jack Steele St Kilda 26
=7th Tom Mitchell Hawthorn 25
=7th Travis Boak Port Adelaide 25
=9th Jarryd Lyons Brisbane Lions 23
=9th Christian Petracca Melbourne 23

There is absolutely no denying that Wines deserved to win the award. I mean, he averaged a career-high 32.1 disposals during the home and away season – as well as six clearances, 5.2 insides 50s, and 443m gained per match.

The midfielder’s consistent performances helped the Power to finish second on the ladder, just two points behind Melbourne. Although they eventually fell in the preliminary finals, Wines’ stellar displays did not go unnoticed.

Since 1924, only six players have won back-to-back Brownlow Medals. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Wines can’t achieve the feat. But it will be extremely difficult.

Analyzing the Other Brownlow Medal Frontrunners for 2022

As I already mentioned, the top end of the bookmakers’ 2022 Brownlow Medal odds list is seriously congested. Wines is the favorite, but there are plenty of players in hot pursuit.

Below, I discuss six players who are destined to challenge Wines for the award.

Marcus Bontempelli (7.00)

Bontempelli led the way for much of last season’s Brownlow count, having made a strong start to the campaign. However, the star Bulldog failed to poll after Round 19.

Ultimately, a couple of injuries hampered Bontempelli’s chances of clinching his first-ever Brownlow Medal. The fact that he still managed to end up with 33 votes is pretty amazing, considering the strength of the competition.

It goes without saying that Bontempelli will be desperate to make amends in 2022. If he can hit the ground running this year, there is no reason why he can’t get his hands on the award.

Sam Walsh (7.00)

Believe it or not, Sam Walsh is still only 21 years young. Just let that sink in for a second.

The 2019 NAB Rising Star has already achieved so much in his short career. After taking the 2020 Mark of the Year, he picked up Carlton’s best and fairest award last season. He also earned his maiden All-Australian selection in 2021.

Walsh amassed a whopping 30 Brownlow votes in 2021 but ended up fourth in the standings. It is worth noting that 30 votes were enough to win the award in 2018, 2014, 2013, and 2012.

At 21, Walsh is only going to get better. Don’t be surprised if he is there or thereabouts when it comes to crowning the Brownlow winner in 2022.

Christian Petracca (9.00)

Petracca was immense throughout Melbourne’s phenomenal 2021 campaign. The gun Demon played a key role in the club’s first minor premiership triumph since 1964 before starring in the postseason.

However, his Norm Smith Medal-winning performance in the Grand Final was in a league of its own. Not only did he equal the record for the most disposals in a decider, but he also notched two goals, nine tackles, and four clearances in the showpiece.

If Petracca can produce those kinds of numbers on a consistent basis throughout the 2022 season, he will almost certainly improve on the 23 votes that he accumulated last year.

Clayton Oliver (10.00)

Only one player racked up more disposals than Oliver in 2021. Alongside Petracca, Oliver starred in Melbourne’s midfield – proving that he has got what it takes to compete for the Brownlow Medal.

MOST DISPOSALS (2021 AFL SEASON)
Player Club Disposals
Jack Macrae Western Bulldogs 880
Clayton Oliver Melbourne 789
Ollie Wines Port Adelaide 777
Tom Mitchell Hawthorn 754
Christian Petracca Melbourne 730

On top of that, Oliver won his third Keith “Bluey” Truscott Memorial Trophy last season. You don’t claim your club’s best and fairest award in a premiership-winning season without being a special player, right?

Just like Walsh, Oliver can count himself extremely unfortunate to have missed out on the 2021 Brownlow Medal. More often than not, 31 votes are enough to win the award. But last year’s competition was too strong.

I expect Oliver to mount another serious challenge for the award in 2022. The 24-year-old’s best seasons are still ahead of him, so he is only going to improve.

Darcy Parish (10.00)

2021 was an amazing year for Parish. He capped off a remarkable breakout season by claiming both the Anzac Day Medal and Tom Wills Medal. He also took home the Yiooken Award before receiving an All-Australian selection for his troubles.

Pretty impressive, huh?

The Essendon midfielder finished joint-fifth in last year’s Brownlow rankings, receiving 26 votes. He looks set for another hugely successful campaign, having cemented his status as one of the top players in the AFL.

Jack Steele (11.00)

Unfortunately, St Kilda’s 2021 season did not have a happy ending. The Saints finished tenth on the ladder – four points shy of the top eight – after losing 12 of their 22 games.

That said, Steele cannot be blamed for St Kilda’s below-par campaign. He won the club’s best and fairest award for the second time in two years and also picked up the Robert Rose Award.

Most Tackles (2021 AFL Season)

  • Jack Steele (St Kilda) – 186
  • Willem Draw (Port Adelaide) – 164
  • Jarryd Lyons ( (Brisbane Lions) – 154
  • Touk Miller (Gold Coast) – 149
  • Dayne Zorko (Brisbane Lions) – 140

Steele was also the league’s top tackler in 2021. He averaged just shy of 8.5 tackles per match last season, having featured in all of St Kilda’s 22 clashes. Maintaining those figures will stand him in good stead for another Brownlow bid.

2022 Brownlow Medal Sleepers to Consider

In this section, I detail three outsiders to keep an eye on in the race for the 2022 Brownlow Medal. I have included a couple of well-known stars, along with one longshot.

Nat Fyfe (15.00)

It feels strange calling Fyfe a Brownlow outsider. I mean, the guy has already won the award twice. But at 15.00, he isn’t among the favorites to scoop the prize in 2022.

Only 15 players have won multiple Brownlow Medals since the award’s inception back in 1924. Since Fyfe has clinched two of the previous seven awards, you can’t rule him out when it comes to betting on the 2022 Brownlow Medal.

RECENT BROWNLOW MEDALISTS
Year Player Club Votes
2021 Ollie Wines Port Adelaide 36
2020 Lachie Neale Brisbane Lions 31
2019 Nat Fyfe Fremantle 33
2018 Tom Mitchell Hawthorn 28
2017 Dustin Martin Richmond 36
2016 Patrick Dangerfield Geelong 35
2015 Nat Fyfe Fremantle 31

The giant Docker missed much of the 2021 campaign due to injury but is now ready light up the league once again. If he carries on the way he’s going, he could go down as one of the greatest AFL players of all time.

Zach Merrett (34.00)

It’s safe to say that Merrett is among the most consistent performers in the AFL. The hard-working Bomber has made over 150 appearances for Essendon, underlining his importance to the team.

The 26-year-old won his third Crichton Medal in 2021, adding to his 2016 and 2019 awards. He also received his second All-Australian selection following another standout season at the heart of the Bombers’ midfield.

Of course, Parish was Essendon’s main man last season. But Merrett still managed to poll 20 Brownlow votes. I wouldn’t be surprised if he chalks up 20+ votes this year, too.

Matt Rowell (67.00)

Okay, this is a longshot. But here me out.

Rowell was recruited by the Suns with the first pick in the 2019 AFL Draft. Although the 20-year-old has struggled with injuries over the past couple of years, there is absolutely no doubting his ability.

It is no secret that Gold Coast is not in a great place right now, but the club boasts several top players. With the exception of Touk Miller, Rowell is arguably the pick of the punch.

They Sydneysider certainly has the potential to win the Brownlow Medal in the coming years. If he can stay healthy and play to the best of his ability throughout 2022, he could claim the award sooner than expected.

Betting on the Brownlow Medal in 2022

When it comes to betting on the 2022 Brownlow Medal, it is important to remember that no player has claimed back-to-back awards for a quarter-century. Robert Harvey scooped the prize in 1997 and 1998, but no man has achieved the feat since then.

With that in mind, Wines will have to produce another extraordinary season to win the award again.

In truth, all of the bookies’ favorites could clinch the prestigious title. Guys like Bontempelli, Walsh, Petracca, Oliver, Parish, and Steele will fancy their chances of securing the crown in 2022, having come close last year.

It is also worth noting that Wines wasn’t even among the bookies’ top 15 favorites last season. For that reason, you would be foolish to disregard outsiders such as Fyfe, Merrett, and Rowell.

If betting on AFL awards is your thing, check out the odds for the 2022 AFL Rising Stars Award. Several young guns look set to battle it out for that award this year.

The 2022 AFL season is schedule to kick off on March 16. With only a couple of months until the new campaign gets underway, be sure to make full use of our 2022 AFL Premiership betting preview.

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Ben Morris
Ben Morris

Ben is a sportswriter and tipster who specializes in soccer. Currently based in the UK, he has traveled all around the world watching – and betting on – his beloved sport.

Alongside his regular soccer content, Ben publishes blogs and picks for cricket, Formula 1, Aussie rules, darts, and various other sports.

Ben is a diehard fan of Nottingham Forest and England, so he hasn’t had much to cheer about in recent years!

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