A BRILLIANT start to 2017 sees Essendon star Zach Merrett in contention for the Brownlow Medal.

Merrett was voted best on ground in the AFL.com.au Brownlow predictor after his 37-disposal performance in the 61-point win against West Coast at Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon. 

The 21-year-old is ranked third in the competition for disposals per game and sits on 12 votes to be outright second in the predictor. 

Merrett was at $17 with Crownbet as of Monday afternoon to take 'Charlie' home. 

Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield was the favourite at $4.25. 

Adelaide star Rory Sloane ($5.50) is expected to have polled 13 votes so far, while reigning Richmond best and fairest Dustin Martin ($7.50) and North Melbourne onballer Ben Cunnington ($201) are equal-third on 11. 

Cunnington escaped suspension for a gut punch on Melbourne's Bernie Vince midway through the second quarter on Sunday afternoon.

The stoppage specialist injured his right ankle in that game but returned to notch up 26 disposals, 17 contested possessions, eight clearances and a goal. 

Who's on track to take home Charlie? Check out AFL.com.au's Brownlow predictor