1. A record start was enough for Fyfe
He was the raging favourite before the count but the question on everyone's lips was whether Nat Fyfe could build a big enough lead to hold off the challengers late in the season. The star midfielder's 17 votes after eight rounds broke Chris Judd's record for the highest tally at that point, but injury problems meant he was a sitting duck towards the end of the season. The Freo jet had 29 votes after 14 rounds and looked like being overtaken in the run home when he missed four games and played the rest under duress thanks to a leg problem. But Fyfe managed to hold on in a thrilling count to be crowned the best player in the game. The Docker polled maximum votes in nine of his 18 games to equal the record of Carlton's Greg Williams in 1994 and grabbed two votes in two other games to end the count with 31 votes to become Fremantle's first ever winner.
2. A cane trumped the best of the WAGs
He's a superstar of the game, a Brownlow medallist, and now Nat Fyfe is a style icon. All eyes were on the red carpet before the count to check out who wore what and who turned the most heads, and the Fremantle midfielder outdid everyone with a walking stick. The star Docker and pre-count favourite won praise for courage after playing most of Friday night's preliminary final loss to Hawthorn with a fracture in his left leg, but he shunned the crutches and tossed away the moon boot for something spectacular. Yes there were gorgeous gowns, plenty of bling and a roomful of beauties on the arms of the competition's best talent, but Nat's cane was slick, classy, a little bit out there – just like its owner - and just plain fantastic.
3. Back-to-back was oh-so-close
After a heart-warming win with 26 votes last year, Matt Priddis eclipsed his personal best mark by two but it wasn't enough to beat his cross-town rival. An ultra-consistent midfielder who was rightly named in this year's All Australian side, the man who was overlooked on draft day on numerous occasions almost became a dual Brownlow medallist. Priddis was four votes behind Fyfe with two rounds to play but managed just the single vote in the Eagles' round 23 win over St Kilda to fall short by three votes. His consolation prize is a Grand Final berth and a chance at a premiership on Saturday, while Fyfe looks on with a plate in his leg.
Matt Priddis was all smiles despite missing out on a second Brownlow. Picture: AFL Media
4. Will Sam ever win a Charlie?
The Hawthorn star polled 30 votes in 2011 to finish runner-up to Collingwood's Dane Swan, snared 26 the following year to finish just behind Essendon's Jobe Watson and matched that total again this season, but still it wasn't enough. Mitchell has been an outstanding player for the Hawks, polling in 12 of his 20 games in 2015, and looms as the biggest danger to the Eagles in this week's decider. Mitchell turns 33 next month so time might be running out for that elusive Brownlow but a fourth flag for the Hawks on Saturday will no doubt soften the blow and further reinforce his standing in the game.
5. Departing Danger leaves the Crows in style
After 154 games Patrick Dangerfield made the difficult decision to depart Adelaide, but the powerful midfielder couldn't have done any more to prove his love for the club in 2015. Less than a week after he was named All Australian for the third time, and two days after he won his first Malcolm Blight medal as the Crows' club champion, Dangerfield polled 22 Brownlow votes to finishsixth, one short of his previous best of 23 in 2012. Danger might be headed for Geelong – if his wishes are granted by all parties during the trade period – but Adelaide fans and everyone involved at the Crows should stand as one to applaud one of the finest individual seasons produced by anyone in the club's history.
Eddie Betts and Patrick Dangerfield enjoy a drink at the Brownlow Medal count. Picture: AFL Media
6. How much is a hit-out worth?
North Melbourne ruckman Todd Goldstein broke the record for taps in a game when he racked up an incredible 80 against Greater Western Sydney in round 12 at Spotless Stadium on his way to a league record 1058 for the year. The Giants were without star big man Shane Mumford, leaving Goldstein to have his way with youngsters Rory Lobb and Tom Downie as the Kangaroos romped to a 52-point win. Goldstein only managed 12 touches for the day but it seems possessions aren't the bees knees after all, because this season's All Australian ruckman nabbed the three votes and best on ground honours from the umpires.
7. The power is finally on for Alipate Carlile
The Brownlow is often referred to as a midfielder's medal, with the odd dash of key forward thrown in the mix, and the league's dour and courageous defenders left on the street. Port Adelaide backman Carlile can lay claim to being the current-day poster boy for the game's forgotten heroes, but he finally broke his duck with two votes in game 157 against Hawthorn in round four. It was better news for Western Bulldogs midfielder Liam Picken who polled for the first time in round five against the Sydney Swans – his 134th game – and managed four votes for the night. The record holder for most games without a vote is former St Kilda all rounder Jason Blake, who went 209 games before polling in round 23 back in 2012.
8. Nic Nat's medal the first of two for the week?
All Australian selectors might have overlooked him but Nic Naitanui's hanger against Geelong in round nine at Domain Stadium got his Grand Final week off to a nice start by earning him the Weet-Bix Mark of the Year. The Eagles big man wasn't at the count but accepted his award at the West Coast function in Perth. Adelaide sharpshooter Eddie Betts did make the AA line up and took out the other special gong of the night, for the Coates Hire Goal of the Year. Betts snagged a ridiculous major against Fremantle in round nine when he launched a left-foot torpedo from the boundary, one of his 63 goals in a brilliant 2015 season.
9. Juddy raises the bat and bows out with a single
One of the greatest players of the modern era, Chris Judd's illustrious career came to an unfortunate end thanks to a serious knee injury he suffered in Carlton's round 10 loss to Adelaide at the MCG. The 2004 and 2010 winner polled 30 votes in both of those years, but managed just one from eight games in his final season. Judd's 20 possessions and one goal against the Bombers was enough to grab the attention of the umpires in the Blues' 21-point loss at the MCG in round three, giving the champ 210 votes in his incredible 14-season career. He ranks fourth behind Gary Dempsey (246), Robert Harvey (215) and Gold Coast skipper Gary Ablett (214)
10. Conspiracy theories abound
Social media went into overdrive midway through the count when a merchandise promotion promoting a Sam Mitchell Brownlow Medal piece was accidentally published on the ShopAFL website. The Hawthorn jumper was spotted online with many left wondering if the beans had been spilled before the winner was crowned. The AFL sent out a statement saying that six Brownlow Medal memorabilia pieces had been mocked up for the retailing website but human error had led to Mitchell's piece being the one published on Monday evening. The AFL apologised during the count as conspiracy theories ran wild but eventually came to nothing.