Jeremy Cameron enjoys some watermelon while receiving three votes against North Melbourne at the 2022 Brownlow Medal. Picture: Seven Network

Movement on the all-time best list

There was some more movement on the all-time voting list, with Scott Pendlebury going equal with his former coach Robert Harvey in fifth place. The Collingwood captain's two-vote outing in his 350th game against Adelaide was enough to tie himself with the St Kilda legend on 215 votes. Geelong's Joel Selwood also surged further up the rankings with his four votes, going to 214 votes overall and leaping Chris Judd (213) into seventh. Selwood's team-mate Patrick Dangerfield also narrowly closed the gap to ten points behind second-placed Gary Dempsey, polling six votes for the season to reach 236 votes overall.

BLUE'S BROWNLOW Cripps wins a thrilling count

Scott Pendlebury leads Collingwood out to face Essendon in R19, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Saints make history in final-round loss

They may not have taken home the four points, but St Kilda polled each of the six Brownlow votes available in its 14-point round 23 defeat to Sydney, becoming the first side to do so in a loss in 16 years and only the eighth in AFL history. Three of Brett Ratten's charges caught the attention of the umpires with eye-catching displays, in what was effectively a dead rubber for the Saints whose finals hopes were all but over going into the game. Against his former side, Dan Hannebery polled three votes in his final outing, while Ben Long secured two and Jack Steele rounded out the vote-getters. The last team to achieve this feat was Essendon, who did so in a three-point defeat against St Kilda.

YOUR SIDE'S BROWNLOW Who stood out at each club?

Brett Ratten and Dan Hannebery after St Kilda played Sydney in R23, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Cameron's big night

All eyes were on Jeremy Cameron as he looked to become the highest-polling key forward since Lance Franklin finished with 22 in 2014 and 2017. Cameron polled brilliantly on the night with 19, but just fell short of reeling in Buddy’s total from seasons prior. But when the Geelong star did poll, he didn't do it in half measures. From each of seven games he polled in, Cameron tallied two or more votes, capping off an impressive night from a polling standpoint. However, as much as he may have expected the votes to come through in his 30-disposal, four-goal outing against North Melbourne, he didn’t anticipate the cameras to be in his direction - catching him red-handed on the big screen chomping on a piece of watermelon.

Daicos goes big in debut year

 If Nick Daicos' first season in the game wasn't already impressive enough, the NAB Rising Star winner chalked up yet another incredible feat. Daicos fell just short of breaking the Magpies' record for most Brownlow votes in a debut season with 11, two less than Des Fothergill polled in 1937 with 13, but still finishing equal first with Jack Crisp among all Magpies vote-getters on the night. It only took four games for the 19-year-old to poll the first votes of his career, snatching all three in the Magpies' shock loss against West Coast before two more three vote outings against Gold Coast and Adelaide respectively.

ALL THE GLAMOUR Check out the Virgin Australia Runway red carpet

Collingwood's Nick Daicos and Arlette Jones at the 2022 Brownlow Medal. Picture: AFL Photos

Best of the new recruits

The umpires have had their say as to who they believe the recruit of the year is, with Fremantle's Will Brodie edging ahead of the peloton to secure the most votes among the players who found new homes this season. The inside midfielder capped off an impressive first season in Western Australia, by polling 11 votes, three clear of Adelaide’s Jordan Dawson. Brodie did most of his work in the opening ten rounds, polling seven votes and adding another four late in the season to finish as Fremantle’s second-highest vote getter after Andrew Brayshaw (25 votes).

Will Brodie after Fremantle v Essendon in R5, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

193 and out for Roughead

For some players, such as Josh Rachele, Nic Martin and Jack Hayes, it takes a single game to poll a maiden Brownlow vote. However, for some, they can play close to 200 and unfortunately, not secure a single one. Jordan Roughead was unable to break his Brownlow duck before retirement, bowing out of the game holding the record of playing the most games of senior football without polling a single vote in 193 home and away season games (201 in his career, including finals) - two clear of former Geelong defender Tom Lonergan and Sydney premiership player Nick Smith. After an injury-riddled start to the season, Roughead played the single game this season against Brisbane in Round 5 and failed to poll. His retirement a few weeks later locked in his position at the top for the time being, with his closest rival among current players being Melbourne swingman Adam Tomlinson who has played 158 H&A games.

BROWNLOW TRACKER Every vote, every club, every round


Emotional Laidley's Brownlow return

Among the many highlights of the Virgin Australia Runway red carpet was the arrival of former North Melbourne coach Dani Laidley and her partner, Donna Leckie. Laidley and Leckie both wore complementary white gowns on an evening that both said meant so much to them. "It’s just been phenomenal and I just said when we came down the stairs that, you know, we are so grateful and overwhelmed for what you’ve done for us," Laidley told the Seven Network. "To get here tonight and go and enjoy the night of nights we haven’t had for quite a few years." Leckie said it was hard to express what the night meant to the couple. "I don’t know how to answer that because every time I try to I cry," she told reporters on the red carpet. 

Dani Laidley and Donna Leckie on the Virgin Australia Runway red carpet at the 2022 Brownlow Medal. Picture: AFL Photos

B.Mihocek, three votes?

It was the game which polarised opinion among coaches and experts' votes at the time, and again opinions were divided as to who was best on ground on Queen’s Birthday. To the furore of Collingwood supporters, Melbourne’s Clayton Oliver won the Neale Daniher medal for best afield - after a 43 disposal outing - beating the Magpies’ Mason Cox who received a perfect ten from the coaches’ votes after an incredible second-half performance which helped his side to victory. However, the umpires saw differently, awarding Brody Mihocek - who kicked four goals and clunked ten marks - with all three votes while Oliver received two and Cox one. Even some in attendance were surprised by the decision with Oliver’s team-mate Christian Petracca being caught on camera mouthing: "Mihocek?!".

Brody Mihocek celebrates a Collingwood goal against Melbourne in R13, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Sunglasses at night

It seems as if Corey Hart's hit-single 'Sunglasses at Night' resonated with some of the Western Bulldogs players. Aaron Naughton and his housemate stole the show before the count even started by rocking matching sunnies as they made their way down the Virgin Australia Runway. However, the sunglasses were passed around the Bulldogs' table later in the night, with the cameras catching sight of Naughton's teammate Tom Liberatore at the opportune time - donning the sunnies just as his three votes against Hawthorn were announced. Eventually, they found their way to Marcus Bontempelli who slid them on after polling three against Melbourne later in the season.

Western Bulldogs' Aaron Naughton and housemate Ethan McAleese at the 2022 Brownlow Medal. Picture: AFL Photos

JK, Hanners drop the mic

Every footballer wants to go out on top but it’s a rare thing to actually achieve. However, this year not one, but two players managed to finish their careers with a best on ground performance. West Coast great Josh Kennedy’s eight-goal effort against Adelaide in round 21 picked up the three votes from the umpires, as did Dan Hannebury’s 30-disposal flashback against his former club Sydney in round 23. Unfortunately for both the season wasn’t one of club success, but they can go into retirement knowing they gave their all to the end, and it was plenty.