1. Neale's streak falls just short of record
Lachie Neale was a runaway winner in an ultra-consistent season, with maximum votes in every game between rounds two and five. The four-game streak saw him join a group of 10 players who have polled maximum votes in four straight games, but he fell just short of the five-game record held by Brent Harvey, Justin Madden and Chris Judd. After two matches out of the votes, however, Neale was back at it, with eight three-vote games in an 11-match run.
2. Snubbed Sheppard the odd one out
Some would argue West Coast defender Brad Sheppard had to wait longer than he should have for All-Australian recognition in 2020. But in the season he was finally acknowledged by those selectors he was snubbed by the umpires. Statistician @sirswampthing pointed out on social media that Sheppard was the only 2020 All Australian not to poll a Brownlow Medal vote this year. Teammate Liam Ryan (one vote) was also largely overlooked by the umpires, while All-Australian defender Darcy Byrne-Jones polled his only two votes in round one.
3. One more time for Ablett as Cats climb
The leading vote-getter in Brownlow Medal history, Gary Ablett will retire with 262 votes after adding one more in 2020. The 2009 and 2013 medallist polled his vote in round six, giving him votes in every season since 2003, with 2002 his only season without a vote. Teammate Patrick Dangerfield took his career tally to 224 votes, moving past Chris Judd (210) and Robert Harvey (215) into fourth place overall. Geelong captain Joel Selwood joined the 200 club, polling three votes to take his career tally to 201. He was leapfrogged by Collingwood champion Scott Pendlebury, however, who polled well, adding 13 votes to sit on 207 from his 316 games. Pendlebury also overtook Leigh Matthews (202) to sit seventh overall in the award's history.
4. Excuse me, coach
The curious case of Luke Dunstan got St Kilda fans' tongues wagging during the Brownlow Medal count. The midfielder was awarded one vote for a 21-disposal, nine-tackle performance against North Melbourne in round one, but was dropped for the following round (nearly three months later due to the COVID-19 break). He was unable to break back into the side until a torn pectoral muscle effectively ruled him out from July onwards. Dunstan wasn't the only player to poll votes and then be omitted, with North Melbourne's Jared Polec picking up one vote against Carlton in round eight and then finding himself out of the team the following week.
5. Three votes: M Rowell
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan should get used saying that phrase during the Brownlow count. Bullocking Gold Coast midfielder Matt Rowell produced three straight best-on performances from rounds 2-4 after being selected with pick No.1 in last year's NAB AFL Draft. A shoulder injury in round five put an end to his inaugural AFL season, but the "Red Bull" still finished in the top 30 overall.
6. Tagging job ends Crows' vote drought
It took until round six for Adelaide to poll its first votes, with midfielder Ben Keays registering one for his shutdown job on Andrew Gaff in a 33-point loss at the Gabba. Brodie Smith then registered one vote in round eight before a six-match dry spell. The Crows scooped the pool in their back-to-back wins in rounds 15 and 16, with Rory Sloane and Rory Laird grabbing the three votes respectively. The club's total of 20 votes was bettered by winner Lachie Neale (31) and runner-up Travis Boak (21) and matched by Melbourne star Christian Petracca and St Kilda All-Australian Jack Steele.
7. Gawn flies the flag for overlooked ruckmen
With midfielders filling the first 12 places, it was left to Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn to break things up. The Demons skipper sat second with 11 votes after seven rounds, but a spell on the sidelines between rounds 11 and 13 saw him slip out of contention, finishing 13th with 13 votes. Gawn aside, the game's best ruckmen were left with rations from the umpires. All-Australian big man Nic Naitanui earned five votes in a season that saw him finish seventh in the AFL Coaches Association Award, while North Melbourne's Todd Goldstein (five) and Collingwood's Brodie Grundy (six) were also largely overlooked.
8. Riccardi party delayed
Not all NAB AFL Rising Star nominees were in the votes, but it was surprising to see young Greater Western Sydney forward Jake Riccardi miss out in round 14 for his four goals against Fremantle in a 38-point win. The former VFL player also had nine marks but was overshadowed by teammates Jeremy Cameron, Josh Kelly and Jacob Hopper. Riccardi, who earned six coaches votes for that performance, was not the only unlucky Rising Star, but it worked both ways. Adelaide's Lachlan Sholl earned three Brownlow Medal votes in round 17 when he was overlooked by the Rising Star judges before scooping up the final nomination in round 18.
9. A(ndrew) Brayshaw shines on Brownlow night
Older brother Angus stunned everyone with a bolting performance in the 2018 Brownlow Medal, finishing third. The Dee caught organisers off-guard and wasn't even invited to the count. But Sunday night was all about A. Brayshaw the younger, with Andrew polling on four occasions to finish with nine votes. It was a breakout year for the Docker and he comfortably topped the family count, with Angus just picking up the sole vote in round 11.
10. Tigers' depth on show
Premiership defender Liam Baker, VFL recruit Jake Aarts and Next Generation Academy selection Derek Eggmolesse-Smith all started this season on Richmond's rookie list and without a Brownlow Medal vote, with Aarts yet to debut and Eggmolesse-Smith having two games to his name. That all three ended the season with their first Brownlow Medal votes highlights the depth of Richmond's list and the service they were able to get out of rookie players in 2020. Fifteen Tigers polled on Sunday night, with their total of 56 votes sitting in ninth overall.