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Can Cripps win the Brownlow? History is the best pointer

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22.06.2019

The most telling moment in this year's Brownlow Medal race may have happened during an otherwise inconsequential training session at the height of summer when the reigning medallist Tom Mitchell went down with a broken leg. But one of the most intriguing questions around finding the league's fairest and best player for 2019 is still to be answered.

Few would argue that Carlton's Patrick Cripps is the most valuable player at the Blues and one of the most influential players across the league.

Could he? Will Carlton's lack of wins destroy Patrick Cripps' Brownlow Medal chances?Credit:AAP

The 24-year-old and joint Carlton captain may have taken his game to an even higher level in 2019 but the jury is out on whether Cripps, despite his elite midfielder status, can somehow snatch the prestigious individual medal.

The Blues, now with a caretaker coach at the helm, have just two wins from 13 matches. Cripps is currently the Brownlow favourite – with Lachie Neale, Tim Kelly, Nat Fyfe and Patrick Dangerfield in the mix – yet it might come down to this equation: how many Carlton wins will it take, regardless of his individual brilliance, for Cripps to be a realistic chance to be chatting with Bruce McAvaney about his football journey, with a glass of champers in his hand, come grand final week?

In this discussion, history is an important guide. Had Cripps been plying his wares during a different VFL/AFL era – at times when field umpires weren't so predisposed to dishing out three-vote performances to a star player from the winning team instead of simply the best player – the sixth-year midfielder might be something of a lay down misere to land his first (and possibly not his last) Brownlow.

Cripps may, instead, wish he was a rising star of the game during the pre-World War II era – a time scattered with examples of Brownlow winners from lowly teams. But more on that later.

Brownlow contender: The Lions' Lachie Neale.Credit:AAP

Cripps' most recent body of evidence –........

© Brisbane Times