TAC Cup Top 25: Brownlow Medal contenders

As we draw closer to the announcement of the final order of the TAC Cup Top 25 players of all time, the discussion of who is No.1 has well and truly begun. 

The list of Brownlow medallists are surely in the mix to be make it towards the top of the list, but who is best is up for debate. 

Is it Geelong’s 302-game superstar Jimmy Bartel or the ‘untaggable’ Dane Swan? 

Or could it be magician Gary Ablett Jnr, the ultimate leader Chris Judd or Sydney games record-holder Adam Goodes? 

The final list will be announced in order on Sunday night at the Morrish Medal night, which will be live video streamed via taccup.com.au

Who do you think will top the list of Brownlow winners? Join the conversation on social media #TACCupTop25

James Szabo looks at the career of each player: 

Jimmy Bartel: Three Premierships, two All Australian selections and a Norm Smith medal will surely put Bartel in contention. 

The boy from Geelong Falcons has given his all to the club he grew up barracking for, since being drafted in 2001. 

His 2007 Brownlow Medal proved his class. Bartel received 29 votes to win the medal after racking up 632 disposals, kicking 18 goals from the midfield, laying 122 tackles and having 20 or more possessions in 21 of his 23 games. 

The consistent performer went on to impress the football world that year by averaging 29 disposals in three of his side’s finals and winning his first premiership medal. 

Bartel continued to grow as a player by averaging nearly 30 touches a game between 2007 to 2009 and went on to build a strong reputation as a big-game player for the Cats. 

The 32-year-old has had an outstanding career to date and is surely one of the very best the Geelong Falcons have produced.

 

Dane Swan:While Bartel has won almost everything in AFL football, Dane Swan has something he hasn’t – three club best and fairest awards. 

Swan’s impressive record of five All Australian selections, one premiership and a Brownlow Medal, as well as those best and fairest awards, has made him one of the greatest TAC Cup players to have played the game. 

Swan’s Brownlow-winning year in 2011 was one of the all-time best, after suffering a quad-injury mid-season. The robust midfielder from the Calder Cannons missed just one game before putting in an incredible 10 game run, in which he produced between over 31 possessions a game. 

He averaged more than a goal a game and received 21 of his 34 Brownlow votes in that period. 

Those 34 votes were the most received by any player under the 3-2-1 system and he also equalled the record of most polled games in a season with 14. 

Swan’s 2011 season alone could put him well and truly in the mix of the all-time best, although his other impressive feats give him an even better chance.

 

Gary Ablett Jnr: Another player who has a good chance of being named the best ever TAC Cup player is Gary Ablett Jnr. 

The inspirational son of a gun has continued to dazzle fans since being drafted from the Geelong Falcons in 2001. 

Ablett’s just about done it all in his time at Geelong and Gold Coast, with a record of 288 games, five club best and fairest awards, eight All Australian selections, two premierships, two Brownlow Medals and being named captain for six consecutive seasons. 

Ablett’s first Brownlow-winning season was clearly one to remember, after the classy midfielder registered 744 disposals, 27 goals, 107 clearances, collected 40 or more possessions in six home and away matches and won the medal by eight votes.  

The 32-year-old proved himself again after moving to the Gold Coast Suns, winning his second Brownlow medal in 2013. 

Ablett won the medal with 28 votes after collecting 655 possessions, registering a staggering 124 clearances, slotting 28 goals and having 30 or more disposals on 12 occasions throughout the season. 

Ablett has been said to be one of the very best players the fans have ever seen and his impressive record is hard to beat.

  

Chris Judd: One man who could challenge the champion midfielder however, is Chris Judd, who has an impressive record of his own. 

Five club best and fairest awards, six All Australian selections, a Norm Smith Medal, a premiership, two Brownlow Medals and named captain of his side for seven seasons, proves Judd is well and truly in contention as one of the favourites. 

The natural leader, who was drafted in 2001 from the Sandringham Dragons, played a memorable 279 games for both West Coast and Carlton and stamped himself as one of the best midfielders the TAC Cup has ever produced. 

Judd’s first Brownlow-winning season in 2004 saw the West Coast superstar poll 30 votes and notch up 501 disposals, 129 clearances, 24 goals and receive 20 or more possessions on 13 occasions. 

Even after missing the first three games of the season, Judd received 30 votes once again in 2010 to win a Brownlow Medal with Carlton and proved he was just as good in different colours. 

The 32-year-old had even more disposals this time around with 539, produced 130 clearances, kicked 14 goals and racked up more than 25 disposals in 15 different games. 

Judd’s ability to perform at an incredible standard and lead by example for two different clubs has been rivalled by few, and has made him a clear contender for the best ever TAC Cup players to have played in the AFL.

 

Adam Goodes: Adam Goodes joins Gary Ablett and Chris Judd as the third and final player, out of the former TAC Cup champions, to have won two Brownlow Medals. 

The Sydney champion has added an impressive number of awards to his resume since arriving at the Swans in 1997 from the North Ballarat Rebels and looks to be in contention to be named one of the all-time greats. 

Goodes made the All Australian side on four separate occasions, won three best and fairest awards, two premierships, captained his side for three consecutive years, as well as winning those two Brownlow Medals in 2003 and 2006. 

Goodes tied with Nathan Buckley and Mark Ricciuto on 22 votes to win the Brownlow, after producing 431 disposals, 20 goals, 82 clearances and registering 20 or more disposals on eight occasions. 

Goodes had an even better season in 2006 which saw him poll 26 votes and win his second Brownlow, after collecting 521 possessions, kicking 25 goals and collecting 20 or more disposals in 16 of his 25 games. 

The Swans superstar, who kicked 464 goals during his career, also holds the record for most games played by an Indigenous player. Goodes also made the Indigenous Team of the Century and is the Swan’s games record-holder.

He will go down as one of the best players to have ever played the game, and is sure to be a real contender as one of the best to come out of the TAC Cup. 




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