The magic number for Nat Fyfe is 30.
If the Fremantle midfielder has that many votes by round 15 in the AFL Brownlow Medal count, it should be enough for him to win the award for the first time.
Like two-time winner Gary Ablett last year, Fyfe will set a hot early pace in the count before late-season injury problems dry up his polling.
Ablett had the lead last year with 22, but a shoulder injury in round 16 ended his season.
West Coast onballer Matt Priddis was the surprise winner on 26 and Fyfe, who was ineligible because of suspension, polled 25 votes.
This year, Fyfe was the unbackable favourite before a leg injury in round 15 slowed him down dramatically.
He missed four of the last six games before the finals, but remains at the top of the betting.
It emerged after Friday’s preliminary final loss to Hawthorn that Fyfe needs surgery for a bone fracture he suffered in his left leg during the match.
In modern Brownlow counts, 30 has become the winning threshold and Fyfe could well have that many by his late-season fade.
The only winners to amass more votes have been St Kilda’s Robert Harvey with 32 in 1998 and Collingwood onballer Dane Swan, who had 34 four years ago.
Ablett in 2009, Carlton’s Chris Judd (’10) and Essendon captain Jobe Watson (’12) all have won with 30.
Two of the most important players in Saturday’s grand final will also poll well.
Priddis has enjoyed another strong season and is flying under no-one’s Brownlow radar this time.
Hawthorn playmaker Sam Mitchell also is a favourite.
Patrick Dangerfield could win the Brownlow just two nights after he won Adelaide’s club champion award for the first time.
Dangerfield received a standing ovation at the Crows function and gave an emotional acceptance speech, where he explained why he wants to leave the club under free agency and join Geelong.
Given the circumstances, Geelong coach Chris Scott said over the weekend he would try to avoid Dangerfield at the Brownlow, which will be his last official function as a Crows player.
Other main favourites are Sydney duo Dan Hannebery and Josh Kennedy and Priddis’ teammate Andrew Gaff.
The Brownlow is now known as the midfielder’s medal, but North Melbourne ruckman Todd Goldstein could buck that trend.
If he wins, Goldstein would be the first ruckman to take out the Brownlow since Melbourne’s Jim Stynes and the Western Bulldogs’ Scott Wynd in the 1991-92 seasons.