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The Australian Football League season starts on Thursday 2 April and the standout punt is Gold Coast star Gary Ablett to win the Brownlow Medal at odds of 9/2 5.50 +450 4.50 4.50 -0.22 with Bet365.
Ablett, the son of another Australian Rules football great with the first name Gary, won the Brownlow Medal that goes to the Australian Football League’s best and fairest player – anyone who attracts a suspension during the competition is ineligible to receive the prized award – in 2009 and 2013.
Ablett debuted for Geelong as a 17-year-old prodigy in 2002 but it was not until the 2007 Australian Football League competition that he began to make an impact on the Brownlow Medal. After polling a total of 14 Brownlow Medal in his first five Australian Football League seasons, Ablett had a breakout year in 2007, receiving 20 votes to finish tied for fifth behind his Geelong teammate Jimmy Bartel. Ablett was playing in a Geelong team of superstars so his effort – and that of Bartel – to poll so many Brownlow Medal votes was terrific. Ablett finished joint third in the 2008 Brownlow Medal count – two votes behind Adam Cooney – before he ran away with the 2009 Brownlow Medal, ending up eight points clear of his closest challenger, Carlton legend Chris Judd.
Ablett went close to winning his second Brownlow Medal in 2010 (second), 2011 (joint fifth) and 2012 (sixth) before he pipped his former Geelong colleague, Joel Selwood, by one point to top the 2013 count. Ablett was on track to win the 2014 Brownlow Medal – and become just the fifth player to earn the honour three times – before disaster struck during Gold Coast’s Australian Football League Round 16 home game against Collingwood. Ablett sustained a serious shoulder injury and Brownlow Medal markets went into a tailspin.
Believe it or not, some bookmakers paid out on Ablett winning the 2014 Brownlow Medal shortly before he hurt his shoulder versus Collingwood. The feeling among Australian Football League fans was that only injury or suspension could stop joining Haydn Bunton, Dick Reynolds, Bob Skilton and Ian Stewart as three-time Brownlow Medal winners so some bookmakers paid out on Ablett in the hope of attracting good media coverage and goodwill from their actions. Even though Ablett featured in just 15 of Gold Coast’s 22 Australian Football League matches, those bookmakers who rolled the dice on a public relations exercise almost got off with having to pay out on two Brownlow Medal winners. Ablett polled 22 Brownlow Medal votes in the opening 16 rounds of the Australian Football League and he led the count by five votes by Josh Kennedy at that point. Ablett finished joint second in the 2014 Brownlow Medal, four votes behind shock winner Matt Priddis, a veteran midfielder with West Coast.
Gold Coast has a realistic chance of qualifying for its first Australian Football League finals series this year so, in theory, the Suns should win more than 10 games and that should make life easier for Ablett to poll Brownlow Medal votes than in previous seasons when his side has struggled.
One has no doubt whatsoever that Ablett should be a warm Brownlow Medal favourite and one was expecting to see the Son of God listed at odds of around 2/1 3.00 +200 2.00 2.00 -0.50 . If Ablett stays fit and healthy throughout the Australian Football League competition then he is going to be mighty hard to beat in the Brownlow Medal race and the odds are that he will be significantly shorter than 9/2 5.50 +450 4.50 4.50 -0.22 at some stage or other.
Ablett is averaging 1.28 Brownlow Medal votes per Australian Football League match as a Gold Coast player – that is one of the sport’s most remarkable statistics when one considers that umpires award one, two and three votes. Ablett’s mean equates to 28.08 Brownlow Medal votes over the course of a 22-game season and such a score would be very hard to beat.
Gary Ablett to win Brownlow Medal
Odds: 9/2 5.50 +450 4.50 4.50 -0.22
Where to Bet: Bet365