Brownlow Wrap: Ben Keays

Submitted by Peter Blucher.

Ben Keays, a one-time Queensland Under 18 captain and former Brisbane Lions player who has reinvigorated his career magnificently with the Adelaide Crows, topped the Queensland vote in the 2022 Brownlow Medal vote count last Sunday night with 11.

Keays finished second in the Adelaide vote behind ex-captain Taylor Walker (14 votes) and was equal 27th overall in the thrilling count which saw Carlton’s Patrick Cripps (29 votes) pip Brisbane ace Lachie Neale (28) with three votes in the final round.

It was a repeat of Keays’ 11 votes in 2021, and he now has 23 votes in 60 games with the Crows after he played 30 games with the Lions without getting a vote.

The ever-feisty 25-year-old was a surprise leader of the Brownlow five rounds into the count after a blistering start in which he picked up 127 possessions – 37-37-25-27-31 round-by-round. He polled 3-2-0-2-2 votes despite his side winning only Round 3 and Round 5. He also grabbed two votes in Round 20.

Keays’ impressive season saw him break in to the all-time 10 vote-getters among Queenslanders, tipping out ex-Brisbane champion Marcus Ashcroft, who polled 21 votes.

St.Kilda’s ex-Southport champion Nick Riewoldt heads the all-time Queensland vote with 153 to sit 30th all-time and second behind Robert Harvey (215) at St.Kilda.

Morningside junior Michael Voss, 32nd overall, is second among Queenslanders with 150 votes and second among Brisbane players behind only Simon Black (184), and Hawthorn’s ex-Coorparoo star Jason Dunstall, with 129, is third on the Queensland list and sixth at Hawthorn behind Sam Mitchell (220), Leigh Matthews (173.5), Shane Crawford (159), John Platten (143) and Luke Hodge (129).

Completing the Queensland top 10 are Brisbane and Western Bulldogs star Jason Akermanis (107), Collingwood and Brisbane player Dayne Beams (90), Brisbane captain Dayne Zorko (85), St.Kilda’s David Armitage (40), Gold Coast and Port Adelaide forward Charlie Dixon (37), Collingwood’s Gavin Crosisca (24), Adelaide and Sydney forward Kurt Tippett (22) and Fitzroy and Brisbane midfielder Scott McIvor (22).

Zorko ranked second among Queenslanders this year with five votes, which all came in the first nine rounds, while Gold Coast’s Lachie Weller picked up a career-high four votes – two each in round 4 and Round 11 before a season-ending knee injury in Round 12.

Gold Coast’s Mabior Chol, who polled one vote twice in 31 games at Richmond, polled his first three-voter after he kicked four goals in the Suns’ Round 9 win over Fremantle. He went without votes for his career-best five goals against Brisbane I Round 19.

Brisbane’s Charlie Cameron polled three votes – one for his four goals against West Coast in Round 8 and two against the Bulldogs in Round 16, when he kicked four goals and had five goal assists to pick up the maximum 10 coaches votes. The three votes that game went to teammate Lachie Neale. Cameron now has 16 career votes.

Dixon received one vote in Round 16 in his sixth game back from injury, while Alex Sexton’s career-best six goals for Gold Coast in his return to the side in Round 23 earned him one vote.

Gold Coast’s Connor Budarick figured in the count for the first time in his 24th game when he polled two votes in Round 12 against North Melbourne. It was his 7th game back from a knee reconstruction before he tragically blew out his knee again two games later.

Brisbane’s Keidean Coleman polled his first vote in the Round 20 loss to Richmond when his first 30-possession game earned him one game but was overlooked in two other games when he was more highly commended by the coaches.

North Melbourne’s Bailey Scott, who recently signed a two-year contract extension with the Roos after speculation he was considering a move to Geelong, polled his first Brownlow Medal vote in his 44th game when he had 27 possessions in a Round 10 loss to Melbourne.

Peter is a consultant with Vivid Sport.

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