Inside Matt Priddis' Brownlow celebrations
Matt Thompson wraps up Brownlow night
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MATT Priddis defied all the odds and conventional wisdom to win the Brownlow Medal in a West Coast team that failed to make the finals and in a season when wasn’t named All Australian.
The hardworking midfielder polled 26 votes to become the third Eagle to win the Brownlow after Chris Judd (2004) and Ben Cousins (2005).
He polled in 13 rounds, with four best-on-ground performances, and was incredibly consistent across the season.
Fremantle’s Nat Fyfe almost won despite being ineligible, polling 25 votes after missing four games through suspension. Priddis polled two votes in the last round to save a lot of embarrassment.
Star Sun Gary Ablett was closing in on a third medal after polling 22 votes in 16 games before getting injured, and he still held the lead until round 20.
Sydney Swan Lance Franklin polled 22 votes in a year when he claimed the Coleman Medal.
Travis Boak, Patrick Dangerfield, Josh Kennedy and Joel Selwood tied for fourth with 21 votes.
For the fourth time, Ablett polled three votes in the opening round. Joel Selwood got away to a flier and Dyson Heppell polled two votes in a big win over North Melbourne.
Priddis gets off the mark with three votes against St Kilda for 28 touches and a goal.
Ablett relinquishes the lead to Selwood briefly as the Geelong captain polls in each of the first four rounds to lead with eight votes.
Ablett's two votes makes him the first player in Brownlow history to poll 14 votes in the first seven rounds of a season. He also becomes the fifth player to poll 200 career votes. He leads by three from Dangerfield, who had a stellar start to the season.
Priddis makes his move with another best-on-ground effort against Collingwood in a loss. He gathered 35 disposals and kicked two goals. He moves to 10 votes but is still seven behind Ablett.
Ablett polls two votes after gathering 45 touches in a 53-point loss to Hawthorn. The two-time Brownlow medallist finishes on 22 votes and he won't poll again due to the shoulder injury. He has a five-vote lead on Sydney Swan Josh Kennedy, who has been polling consistently. Franklin enters the race with eight votes in three rounds to sit third, seven votes back. Priddis sits outside the top five on 14 votes.
Things get really tight. Kennedy polls three votes for a 41-possession day against Carlton to move within two. Franklin polls two votes with six goals to move within four. Fyfe (20), Dangerfield (18), Boak (17) and Selwood (15) all poll top votes in the same round.
Fyfe claims the lead with top votes for 28 touches and two goals against Carlton. His ineligibility means Ablett still leads. Priddis looms large. He polls three in a loss to Richmond in round 18 and one more in round 19 to move to equal third with Dangerfield.
Fyfe nabs two votes in a loss to Geelong to reach 25 votes. Ablett loses the lead for the first time since round four with Priddis claiming three votes after a monster game against Collingwood. He's on 24 votes and leads by two from Ablett. Priddis has polled 10 votes in the last five rounds.
Franklin polls two votes in his final game of the home and away season to finish on 22 votes, level with Ablett. His 22 are the most votes ever by a Coleman medallist. Priddis remains two clear of Ablett and Franklin on 24. Fyfe is still ahead but ineligible. Priddis is now a Brownlow medallist and only Boak and Dangerfield can possibly share the medal with him.
Priddis saves some embarrassment by polling two votes for 27 touches against Gold Coast to claim the medal outright with 26 votes. Boak and Dangerfield failed to poll a vote in the final round.