THE FIELD is opening up for Geelong star Tim Kelly to win the Brownlow Medal.
Not only is he sitting pretty on top of AFL.com.au's Brownlow Predictor, and by a healthy margin, but the contenders are falling down around him.
His best-afield performance in the Cats' win over top-four hopeful Adelaide took him to 22 votes.
That put him four ahead of Carlton midfield beast Patrick Cripps, who could be forced to spend more time on the sidelines as he deals with a foot sprain.
Can 'Crippa' return to chase down 'TK'? Picture: Getty Images
Fremantle skipper Nat Fyfe is third, and immediately trailing him are Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield, who picked up a left hip issue in a massive collision with Daniel Talia last Friday, and hobbled Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn, who needs his swollen left ankle to recover ahead of the Demons' Sunday afternoon clash with Carlton.
All those factors mean Kelly is primed to have 'Charlie' draped around his neck come season's end.
It serves as a reminder of how unbelievable the story of Kelly is, and the conundrum Geelong faces at season's end.
Drafted as a mature-age recruit at pick No.24 in 2017, he finished equal-second in his debut best and fairest, alongside Dangerfield and just behind Mark Blicavs.
It was a remarkable result, and the West Australian clubs clamoured to secure his services in last year's NAB AFL Trade Period.
No deal could be reached. West Coast offered three second-round selections but the Cats held Kelly to his contract, which runs until the end of 2019.
Instead of moping, Kelly, who turns 25 later this month, has responded by taking his game to another level and in the process has become arguably the most in-form player in the competition.