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Bontempelli and Petracca clear Brownlow favourites according to our experts

Western Bulldogs champion Marcus Bontempelli and powerful Melbourne onballer Christian Petracca are clear favourites for Monday night’s Brownlow Medal, according to The Age’s football experts.

We asked 12 members of our football team to predict the top three placings in the count, and the dynamic midfielders, both aged 27, featured prominently.

The usual suspects for Monday night’s Brownlow Medal are Port Adelaide’s Zak Butters, Melbournne’s Christian Petracca, Marcus Bontempelli, Collingwood’s Nick Daicos and Brisbane’s Lachie Neale.

The usual suspects for Monday night’s Brownlow Medal are Port Adelaide’s Zak Butters, Melbournne’s Christian Petracca, Marcus Bontempelli, Collingwood’s Nick Daicos and Brisbane’s Lachie Neale.Credit: Getty

Six members of our team picked Bontempelli to win it and four picked Petracca. The contrarians were columnist Kane Cornes who picked Port Adelaide’s Zak Butters to take home “Charlie” and Michael Gleeson who picked Nick Daicos to hang on to his lead despite a late-season injury.

In another point of difference, Gleeson was the only pundit to pick Brisbane’s Lachie Neale – who won the Brownlow in 2020 – to finish on the podium.

Those five players – Bontempelli, Petracca, Daicos, Butters and Neale – are the usual suspects of 2023; the only five players our experts expect to finish among the placegetters when the final votes are read out on Monday night. As you will see, Petracca’s teammate Clayton Oliver was the strong fancy for this year’s medal among our experts before the season began, but his long injury lay-off removed him from calculations.

Pre-season tip: Christian Petracca (Melbourne). He finished with 24 votes last year after a season in which he had fluctuations and injury. He can do better in a dominant side.
Why it hasn’t changed: I’ve stuck with my pre-season pick of Petracca, who is helped by the absence of Clayton Oliver for a stretch of games. Bontempelli deserves a Brownlow and will be close, and Daicos is hurt by those last four games he won’t poll in.

Pre-season tip: Clayton Oliver (Melbourne). The champion midfielder looks ready to lead Melbourne back into the top four this year.
Why it’s changed: I’ve changed from Oliver because his year was injury-affected.

Pre-season tip: Clayton Oliver (Melbourne). The Demons will be stronger premiership contenders in 2023 and it’s Oliver’s consistency in the contest that will gather the attention of the umpires. Has had a couple of standout years now, but can often get overshadowed by the work of Christian Petracca.
Why it’s changed: I tipped Clayton Oliver during the pre-season, but due to an extended break through injury he won’t be up there in the polling. “The Bont” has been a clear standout all year, dominating on the inside and then using his work rate to burn opponents on the outside. He’ll be a worthy winner in what should be a close count.

Pre-season tip: Chad Warner (Sydney). He can do everything. More will be expected of him at the Swans this year, and he will deliver.
Why it’s changed:
Gee, was that ambitious! Warnner had a ripper year in 2022 and didn’t go on this year.

Pre-season tip: Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs). Because he has to win one.
Why it hasn’t changed:
As I said before the season, Bontempelli is going to win one. This one is as good as any.

Pre-season tip: Lachie Neale (Brisbane Lions). The addition of Josh Dunkley will make him even more dangerous.
Why it’s changed: The Lions star will still poll well, but is likely to fall short.

Pre-season tip: Clayton Oliver (Melbourne). Each year Oliver is right up there in the conversation to take home “Charlie”, and if teammate Christian Petracca doesn’t take too many votes off him, I can’t see anyone getting in his way this season.
Why it’s changed: Oliver’s injury means there was one less superstar to take votes off Petracca. And putting aside Melbourne’s finals run, he’s been a consistent player in a good team all year.

Pre-season tip: Clayton Oliver (Melbourne). Gun midfielder in a top team, and a prolific vote-getter.
Why it’s changed: A troublesome hamstring injury cruelled Clayton Oliver’s chances, but Christian Petracca will enjoy not having to vie with his star teammate for votes. With 12 games where he collects 29 or more possessions, and a further four where he kicks multiple goals, Petracca should have enough games to poll a winning total.

Pre-season tip: Clayton Oliver (Melbourne). Equal-fourth last year and third in 2021, Melbourne’s ultra-consistent on-baller is primed to top both those results and win the medal this season.

Why it’s changed: Clayton Oliver started the season strongly, but a hamstring injury kept him to 13 home and away games. Bontempelli is another proven vote-getter whose best games cannot be missed.

Pre-season tip: Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs). The fire is in the belly after last year’s disappointments.
Why it hasn’t changed: There is no reason to change from my pre-season prediction as the proven vote-winner hauled his team over the line on many occasions, with only Tom Liberatore battling him for votes.

Pre-season tip: Clayton Oliver (Melbourne). Oliver has polled 56 votes in the last two seasons and is primed for another year leading Melbourne’s dynamic midfield. He kicked just five goals last year. If he pushes into the front half more this season, he will be impossible for umpires to ignore.
Why it changed: Injury. I had Oliver as my pre-season prediction, but he suffered a hamstring injury in round 10, which led to him missing 10 games for the season.

Pre-season tip: Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs). His career has been too good not to have won one. This is his year.
Why it hasn’t changed: Nothing has changed since pre-season. Bontempelli is still delivering for his team.

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