In the first half of the 2015 season, football pundits around the country were in awe of the superlative form of Fremantle’s Nat Fyfe.
His dominance was such that one betting agency paid out on him winning the Brownlow Medal not long after the halfway point of the season.
And despite being injured towards the latter part of the year forcing him to miss a number of games as well as affecting his form, Fyfe went on to claim both the Brownlow Medal and Leigh Matthews Trophy as the AFLPA MVP – one of only a handful of players to do so.
However, back in Round 9 of last year when Fyfe was in as good a touch as any time during the season, the Dockers travelled to Adelaide to take on the Crows, and those that watched the game were treated to one of the great individual midfield match-ups of modern times.
Nathan Fyfe, versus Adelaide and now-Geelong star Patrick Dangerfield. It was an absolute classic head-to-head battle between arguably the two best players in the competition, and without a tagger in sight.
Although most had Fyfe narrowly winning the encounter on the day with 40 disposals and six tackles, Dangerfield was not far behind with 38 and eight.
The two came into 2016 as favourites to take out this year’s Brownlow Medal. However, as we know, a fractured fibula to Fyfe in Round 5 against Carlton brought a premature end to his season.
While at that early stage of the season there were a number of players being touted as Brownlow chances – not least among them Sydney’s Luke Parker – as the season has progressed Dangerfield has continued to firm in Brownlow betting.
This week Dangerfield was named All Australian for the fourth time, while also being awarded the AFL Coaches Association Player of the Year – a feat Fyfe has yet to achieve.
Should Dangerfield also go on to collect the Brownlow Medal and the Leigh Matthews Award, as well as the Carji Greeves Medal for Geelong’s Best and Fairest, he will become only the second player in the history of the game to take out all five in the one year.
The only player to do so previously was the little master Gary Ablett Jnr 2009, who also went on to play in a winning Grand Final side as well.
Ironically, Ablett achieves this with the Cats who Dangerfield joined at the end of last season, and who are good chances themselves of going all the way.
Hopefully Dangerfield has installed plenty of shelving in his new home, as if results go as expected he will certainly need the space for his plethora of awards. Indeed, should he have another season or two like he has in 2016 he may have to build an extension.
Jamie Radford also writes for www.footyprophet.com – football and fantasy analysis unravelled.