AFL news 2021: Brownlow Medal, favourites, start time, how to watch, betting odds

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Several star midfielders have had exceptional seasons in 2021 and this year’s Brownlow Medal count is set to be the most enthralling in recent years.

The AFL’s night of nights is finally upon us.

A brand new Brownlow medallist will be crowned at the ceremony on Sunday evening.

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The prestigious medal is awarded to the player judged the best and fairest by the AFL umpires.

After each game in every round, the match officials award three votes, two votes and one vote to the three players they believe were the most impressive on the field.

Last year’s Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale and 2019 winner Nat Fyfe both had injury-interrupted seasons, ruling them out of contention for this year’s award.

Unlike the past few seasons, there is no clear-cut favourite with a winner likely to come from a trio of standout midfielders.

This year’s is count is expected to be one of the closest in recent memory and could well go down to the wire.

Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s Brownlow Medal.

When is it on?

This year’s Brownlow Medal will be held on Sunday 19 September with the vote count due to get underway at 7.30pm (AEST).

The Brownlow usually takes place on the Monday of grand final week but the AFL has parted with tradition in the last two years, holding the ceremony on the Sunday instead.

How can I watch the Brownlow?

The Brownlow will be broadcast on Channel 7, with coverage of the red carpet kicking off at 7pm (AEST) before the vote count gets underway at 7.30pm (AEST).

Where is it being held?

The past two Covid-affected seasons have forced the Brownlow to be held at state-based locations instead of the usual glamorous ceremony at Melbourne’s Crown Casino.

Perth is hosting all the major events in the lead up to the grand final, with Optus Stadium to host the main part of this year’s ceremony.

Players from Western Australia and South Australia will be there in Perth, along with some of the favourites for the Brownlow from the two grand finalists — Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs.

Queensland-based players will be at the Gabba, while players from Victoria and NSW will have to tune in remotely from home due to the Covid-19 lockdowns in those states.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan will be reading out the votes at the venue at Optus Stadium, where this year’s winner will likely be crowned.

Who are the favourites to win?

The 2021 Brownlow count is expected to be one of the closest in recent years.

There isn’t a runaway favourite this year but most experts believe one of Port Adelaide’s Ollie Wines, Melbourne’s Clayton Oliver or the Western Bulldogs’ Marcus Bontempelli will win.

Pundits have Wines as the narrow favourite to take home “Charlie”, with Oliver to be disadvantaged by his teammates Christian Petracca and Max Gawn taking votes off him.

Bontempelli could also miss out on valuable votes awarded to his teammate Jack Macrae instead.

A rare tie is certainly not out of the realm of possibility and it would be the first time there have been joint winners since 2003 when Nathan Buckley, Adam Goodes and Mark Ricciuto all finished on 23 votes.

St Kilda’s Jack Steele is a smokey for the Brownlow and is expected to poll very well in the second half of the season and challenge the favourites.

Carlton’s young gun Sam Walsh and Essendon’s Darcy Parish are likely to finish high on the leaderboard and be rewarded for breakout seasons.

What are the betting odds?

Wines is the favourite to win the Brownlow according to Sportsbet, only just ahead of Oliver and Bontempelli.

Ollie Wines ($3.25)

Clayton Oliver ($3.75)

Marcus Bontempelli ($4)

Jack Steele ($6.50)

Christian Petracca ($15)

Sam Walsh ($26)

Darcy Parish ($31)

Jack Macrae ($34)

Tom Mitchell (51)

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