Jarryd Lyons has written himself into the Brisbane Lions record books, polling 23 votes in the 2021 Brownlow Medal to finish equal 9th.
It is the third-highest single-season vote tally in club history behind Lachie Neale’s extraordinary 31 votes in a 17-game campaign to win the 2020 medal, and Simon Black’s 25 votes when he won in 2002.
Remarkably, Lyons polled as many votes as Jason Akermanis did when he won the medal in 2001, and two more votes than Michael Voss polled when he was joint winner in 1996.
Yet still Lyons was 13 votes behind Port Adelaide winner Ollie Wines in the highest top end vote count in history, with four players topping 30 votes for the first time under the 3-2-1 voting system.
Wines (36) won from Western Bulldogs’ Marcus Bontempelli (33), Melbourne’s Clayton Oliver (31) and Carlton’s Sam Walsh (30), with Essendon’s Darcy Parish and St.Kilda’s Jack Steele (26) equal fifth, Port’s Travis Boak and Hawthorn’s Tom Mitchell (25) equal seventh, and Lyons and Melbourne’s Christian Petracca (23) equal ninth.
Lyons, who finished a close third in the Merrett/Murray Medal count behind skipper Dayne Zorko and Hugh McCluggage, turned the tables on his midfield compatriots when he polled in 10 games.
His 23 votes took his tally in three years at the Lions to 45 and saw him jump into 10th spot on the club’s all-time vote list, pushing Dayne Beams (44) down to 11th.
This has come after he played 92 games with Adelaide and Gold Coast for just eight medal votes.
Lyons was judged best afield by the umpires four times – in the Q-Clashes in Round 9 and Round 19 when he won the Marcus Ashcroft Medal, plus Round 10 against Richmond and Round 14 against North Melbourne.
In other Lions highlights of a 2021 Brownlow count held via zoom and spread over three states, Zorko (14) and McCluggage (10) also polled in double-figures, while Dan McStay (2) and Oscar McInerney (1) polled in the medal for the first time, and Joe Daniher (4) polled for the first time as a Brisbane player.
The full Lions vote tally was:
23 – Jarryd Lyons (2233323122)
14 – Dayne Zorko (122333)
10 – Hugh McCluggage (123112
8 – Lachie Neale (323)
6 – Daniel Rich (132)
4 – Joe Daniher (121)
3 – Lincoln McCarthy (21)
3 – Mitch Robinson (3)
2 – Dan McStay (2)
1 – Eric Hipwood (1)
1 – Oscar McInerney (1)
1 – Charlie Cameron (1)
Zorko, who did not poll in the first eight games, rattled home after serving a one-match suspension in Round 14, picking up three votes in Round 15 against Geelong, Round 21 against Fremantle and Round 23 against West Coast.
His 14 votes takes his career total to 80 behind Black (184), Voss (150), Jonathan Brown (112), Nigel Lappin (93), Akermanis (91) and Luke Power (83).
McCluggage’s 10 votes in his fifth season came after his first four seasons produced just two votes. He polled in four of the first eight games of the season to lead the Lions count early.
Neale was the only other Lions player to best judged best afield more than once. He picked up maximum votes in Round 5 against Essendon, and Round 22 against Collingwood.
McStay’s two votes came as expected in Round 9 against Gold Coast, when he had 14 possessions, eight marks and four goals and was rated third best overall by the coaches in the AFL Coach’s Association Player of the Year Award.
It was his 124th career game – a longer wait than any other Lions player to his first votes.
But, importantly, it saw him remove himself from the top of the club’s “most games – no votes” list.
This is now headed by current teammate Darcy Gardiner (133) from Cheynee Stiller (100), James Polkinghorne (94), Josh Green and Ryan Harwood (81), and Joel Macdonald (80).
The Big O’s first vote came in arguably the best game of his career in Round 19 against the Gold Coast, when he had 18 possessions, including a career-best 16 contested possessions, and a career-best 12 clearances – twice as many as anyone else in the game.
It was the game in which McInerney received the maximum 10 votes from the coaches from Lyons (7), Lincoln McCarthy (5), McCluggage (3), Harris Andrews (2), Gold Coast’s Touk Miller (2) and Lincoln McCarthy (1).