At this juncture it would appear that the AFL’s Brownlow Medal is Tom Mitchell’s to lose.
We said much the same last season of Patrick Dangerfield, however, who was even more prohibitive so far as the odds were concerned until a late season suspension removed his name from the Charlie list and handed the award to a deserving Dustin Martin, who edged Dangerfield by three points, so it is fairly obvious that the rough conduct suspension played a huge role in the outcome.
Hawthorn’ Mitchell finished third, well behind the first two, but showing the promise that has him on top during the 2018 competition.
Mitchell is leading the league comfortably in kicks and hand ball, but his shocking statistic is his 35 disposals per game average, more than 13 per game better than his closest pursuers in that category.
Mitchell came into the AFL in 2013 with the Sydney Swans in 2013. He played 65 games for the Swans and it seemed that his final season of 2016 was destined to give him a flag, but the Western Bulldogs upended the cart that year after the Swans had disposed of the Adelaide Crows in the semifinals and the Geelong Cats in a preliminary final.
Mitchell joined the Hawks in 2017 and set his career high water mark for disposals, with 787. His average for 14 appearances in 2018 seems to have him on a pace that will produce a disposal number above 700 with ease, and if the Hawks can produce a strong run home and qualify to play finals, the 800 mark is not inconceivable.
The most recent bookmaker quotes we examined concerning Mitchell’s Brownlow Medal prospects have him priced at $2.25, which is to say, he could be caught, but closest pursuer Patrick Cripps ($8) will need some decidedly good fortune to catch Mitchell.
Barring an injury that costs him major time, or a suspension, we would project that the 2018 Brownlow Medal recipient will be Tom Mitchell.