The collecting community has recently been hit with the news that two leading predictor candidates will most likely not feature again for the remaining 3 weeks of the season. In both scenarios, we have seen collectors massively deviate away from the long-standing favourites, towards candidates with strong recent performances. Nick Daicos, and Will Ashcroft are the players in question whose fate will remain unknown for many weeks ahead. This uncertainty has created a dilemma for many collectors who have purchased Daicos 'Brownlow Predictors' or 'Brisbane Rising Star Predictors' throughout the course of the season. It seems many collectors are opting out of both markets, which has seen some crazy price swings over the last 48 hours.
Instead of focusing on the 'odds' in regards to the likelihood of outcomes, we believe a key driver in the shift in behaviour is boiled down to the phenomenon of ''recency bias". If you are unsure what this term means, essentially it regards to human tendency to favour the events that happened last as they are remembered more clearly, opposed to events that occurred further in time, But this shouldn't mean that recent actions, or in this case performances, carry greater weight than those occurring in the first few weeks of the season. Moments in time which were utterly dominated by Nick Daicos. How do we know this?
While we acknowledge that the 'Rising Star' award is a purely subjective race, due to the fact the winner is voted by a panel, the Brownlow Medal race is one that is somewhat quantifiable, which is information here at Card Authority that we have attempted to provide! Over the past couple of days, we've looked back into the performances of the likely candidates to this year's Brownlow Medal, and created our own data set.
Although our data is based off educated assumptions, our findings attempt to discover whether there's genuine need for concern in regards to Daicos' Brownlow hopes, or is the notion of 'recency bias' having too great an input now that it's assumed Daicos will not likely to poll in the final 6 games of Collingwood's season? Whilst people will be tempted to offload Daicos predictors while they still have currency, we question whether the reaction to the recent news is entirely warranted? Are we really going to disregard Nick Daicos' 20 games of brilliance at the final hurdle?
The candidate most collectors are looking towards is Western Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli. 'Bont' is piecing together another consistent season, having featured in every game, alongside some strong statistical showings across his 21 fixtures. This culminated in arguably his best performance of the season last Friday night, putting together 32 disposals, and 3 crucial goals in the 'Dogs' drubbing of Richmond. Was this game the primary explanation for the collectors strong push for 'Bont' predictors in the wake of the Daicos news? Most likely, but again has the combination of a potential 3-vote game and Daicos' injury occurring in a matter of 24 hours created a further overreaction? While Bontempelli has put together a season many expect from one of the games superstars, our vote calculations don't see him poll within the first 3 games of the season, bringing his overall expected vote tally to 23.
And while Bontempelli has always polled historically well compared to expectations, as has always been a problem at the Bulldogs, there's plenty of players in the mix to curtail Bontempelli's predicted tally. The likes of Tom Liberatore, Adam Treloar, and Caleb Daniel continue to power on, and while traditionally ruckman have never been great vote-getters, Tim English is putting together one of the great individual seasons that simply can't be ignored. Again, Bontempelli's class has previously risen above the likes of his teammates, as was seen in 2021, but it doesn't mean you can disregard those factors altogether, The Bulldogs remaining fixtures features an away game in 'Tassie' versus the Hawks, followed by a "gimme game" against West Coast in Round 23, finished by a tough encounter versus Geelong at GMHBA. For a player that has projected 10 votes in his previous 6 outings, the rage for Bontempelli's chances has been immense However according to our data set, Bontempelli will still need to poll a minimum 6 votes from his remaining games to stand a chance against the precedent Nick Daicos has set. Having to poll 2 votes per game in his final 3 games, will the 'Bont' be able to rise to the occasion? Potentially, but given the heavy swing towards his chances you'd assume the equation would be much simpler.
Aided by Melbourne's recent dominance and the absence of Clayton Oliver with his seemingly never-ending hamstring complaint, Christian Petracca is another name that has been heavily floated amongst the beneficiaries of Daicos untimely injury. Another of the games superstars with strong polling history, amongst our data set, Petracca's variance differs the most with a number of games where his polling is a 50/50 estimate. With that being said however, Petracca's recent move forward of the ball, resulting in a greater scoreboard presence, could see 'Trac' land some knock-out blows come Brownlow night if he gets the rub of the green with the umpires. On the other side of the coin though, Petracca has the largest potential downside with our calculations suggesting a minimum vote tally of 14 votes across the season so far. While we expect his vote numbers to be larger than that figure, stranger things have happened.
As we opened with, Petracca has been the biggest beneficiary to the injury to Clayton Oliver, as his performances in Oliver's presence aren't seen to be particularly strong, predicting to poll only 10 votes in the first 10 games of the season, according to our approximate calculations. There is every chance that Oliver could finally make his awaited return this weekend, which throws Petracca's future vote potential up in the air. With remaining fixtures against the Blues, Hawks, and Sydney, all games they will enter as favourites, it wouldn't be a shock to see Petracca perform well in 2/3 games against 'bottom 8' sides. But it's more a question of will the return of Oliver seemingly curtail Petracca's final burst into the final 3 games, and ultimately impact his winning potential?
There were genuine reasons as to why many collectors around the country pinned a potential Daicos Brownlow as more likely than unlikely. The 'Pies' have won a bucket-load of games this season, with Daicos being the focal-point in a majority of those wins. From our calculations, across a 7-game stretch between Rounds 11-18 (which includes Collingwood's "bye") he's predicted to poll a total of 15.5 votes, with the strong likelihood of numerous 3-vote games among this data set. This brings Daicos vote tally to an approximate 28 votes, which most likely features Daicos NOT polling in the last 6 games of Collingwood's regular season. Looking back on previous seasons however, Patrick Cripps was able to claim last year's Brownlow with 29 votes, while 28 votes would've also snared victory in 2020's Brownlow count where Lachie Neale ran out victorious by 10 votes. If your issue is the number of weeks missed, it should be mentioned that Nat Fyfe was able to secure a Brownlow off an 18-game season way back in 2015!
The only other real question mark to Daicos' Brownlow credentials, is whether some of Collingwood's other star players will draw the attention of umpires and skew Daicos' approximate vote tally. The 'Pies' have weapons in every third of the park, and it wouldn't be too surprising to see the likes of Jordan De Goey, Josh Daicos, Scott Pendlebury, Darcy Moore, or even Tom Mitchell stealing maximum votes in certain games. Whatever way you spin it though, Daicos has set a benchmark in 21 games that has been a winning tally in previous years. While there's always going to be a certain level of 'recency bias' with future outcomes yet to unfold, we shouldn't be so quick to discount a large majority of Daicos' season. In saying that, there is definitely a chasing pack of seasoned "pollers' ' who also possess a genuine threat to the 20-year old's historic season.
'Best Of The Rest'
Outside the consensus of the 'Top 3' Brownlow candidates, we believe that a few popular selections have left their run too late to be worth considering. Realistically, Tim Taranto and Jordan Dawson haven't won enough games with their respective sides to have strong Brownlow credentials. Whilst across the border in South Australia, Zak Butters who was the league's hottest commodity for a split moment, and is partner in crime Connor Rozee, have both out together solid seasons. However their own, and Port Adelaide's recent form suggest that their chances have fallen 'off the boil', and also are projected to 'eat from each others bowl' at various points in the season. The main outside chance that is worth considering is none other than former Brownlow Medalist Lachie Neale. Whether you believe in Brisbane's season aspirations or not, the Lions have won a significant portion of their games, whilst Neale has continued to flourish being the main accumulator amongst their ranks. His polling history speaks for itself, and therefore cannot be completely dismissed as we enter the final 3 games of the season, with the genuine chance of Brisbane winning all those remaining games.
We want to drive the message home that the calculations we've provided, just like every other source of Brownlow intel, is completely subjective however educated. Whilst there is reason to be concerned about Daicos' winning potential, we believe that throwing the 'baby out with the bath water' is also an overreaction. As mentioned earlier, Nick Daicos has pieced together a fantastic season which may in fact be derailed by injury. However the onus rests on his competitors to step up to the challenge, as we believe there still needs to be strong future performances from the likes of Marcus Bontempelli, and Christian Petracca in order for there to be a change in result come Brownlow night. So when making your future Predictor decisions, don't base your conclusions off a knee-jerk reaction that 'so and so' is out for a small part of the season. Especially when 88% of the year has already been played out!