Opinion is divided on whether Nat Fyfe can win the Brownlow Medal and his AFL peers are about to give their verdict on the Fremantle star’s season.
Fyfe and the other key Brownlow favourites are among the 54 nominees for the AFL Players’ Association Most Valuable Player award.
Last year the Dockers midfield ace won the award, the Leigh Matthews Trophy, for the first time.
The award will be announced on Tuesday night in Melbourne.
Fyfe continued his strong form this year and was the overwhelming Brownlow favourite until late in the season, when he missed four games in six weeks because of leg problems.
The Brownlow betting market has since tightened because of his injury woes.
Last week, Sydney midfielder Dan Hannebery beat Fyfe by one vote to win the AFL Coaches Association Champion Player award.
Hannebery polled seven votes in the last round to overtake Fyfe, who was sidelined.
But despite his late-season problems, Fyfe has taken out the Herald Sun Player of the Year.
In those two awards, Fyfe did not poll a vote after round 14.
Fyfe returned to action in Saturday’s qualifying final win over Sydney and starred with 32 possessions – his first 30-plus game since round 13.
The voting for the various player awards only covers the regular season.
Voting for the players’ MVP is a two-step process that is different to the usual weekly scoring used for most awards.
First, players vote for their teammates near the end of the season and the top three from each club are the 54 nominees.
Then the players vote for the MVP – and here they cannot vote for teammates.
In the MVP’s 33-year history, a player has won the award and the Brownlow in the same season nine times.
Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett was the latest, winning the two awards in 2009 and ’13.
All Fyfe’s likely Brownlow rivals are also MVP nominees – last year’s Brownlow winner Matt Priddis (West Coast), Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide), Hannebery, Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn) and Todd Goldstein (North Melbourne).
Also on Tuesday night, the players’ association will announce its most courageous player, best captain and best first-year player awards.