Norm Smith Medal Tips - Who will be judged as best player in the 2019 AFL Grand Final?

Adam Cusworth 24 Sep 2019
  • Can Dustin Martin join rare air as a two time Norm Smith winner?
  • Toby Greene and Jeremy Cameron among the Giants with good form against Richmond. 
Dustin Martin won the Norm Smith Medal in 2017 (PA Images)

The Norm Smith Medal will be presented to the best player in the AFL Grand Final and we've picked out four value bets in what is a very competitive betting market. 

Richmond's Dustin Martin is favourite with BetEasy at the $6.50 quote ahead of his teammate, Dion Prestia at $9. GWS' Toby Greene is at $10, while Josh Kelly is $11. Tom Lynch ($11), Bachar Houli and Lachie Whitfield (both $12) head the rest.   

There is also plenty of value in the betting. GWS forward, Jeremy Finlayson is a $51 shot, while Daniel Rioli is also at that quote. Daniel's uncles, Cyril Rioli and Maurice Rioli, are both past winners of the Norm Smith. Jason Castagna and Matt de Boer (both $81) are others at big odds. 

Finding a winner for the Norm Smith can come down to a bit of luck but here are a few things to keep in mind:

The Norm Smith Medal is normally won by midfielders. Last year's winner, Luke Shuey is an example but there have been a few exceptions. The 2016 recipient Jason Johannisen, claimed the Norm Smith as a running half-back-flanker, while Hawthorn's full back, Brian Lake, won the medal in 2013. He was the first defender since Gary Ayres won the Norm Smith in 1988. 

Forwards also have a moderate record in the Norm Smith Medal. Cyril Rioli bucked that trend in 2015 by starring for the Hawks and the last true forward to win the medal prior to Cyril was another Hawk, Paul Dear in 1991. 

Geelong’s pair, Steve Johnson (2007) and Paul Chapman (2009), both spent time up forward when they took out the award. Jack Gunston was unlucky not to win for the Hawks in 2013 after kicking four goals in their win over Fremantle. 

Norm Smith medallists usually come from the winning team. Only four of the 41 winners have come from the losing team, most recently Chris Judd in 2005 and Nathan Buckley in 2002. Lenny Hayes won the medal in the drawn 2010 Grand Final. 

Looking at the form between the two sides from their two encounters this year we see that Richmond's Kane Lambert, Tom Lynch, Shai Bolton and Bachar Houli, were the stars in the Round 17 Tigers win over GWS, while the Giants Toby Greene also played well that day. Brownlow Medal voting saw Shai Bolton pick up the three votes, while Toby Greene was awarded two, while Kane Lambert secured one. 

Dustin Martin picked up 25 possessions in that game but it is interesting to note that he was completely blanketed by Matt de Boer in Round 3. The Giants tagger was absent from the line up in Round 17. 

In the Round 3 fixture, GWS accounted for Richmond by 49 points. Jeremy Cameron starred with seven goals, while Lachie Whitfield picked up 42 possessions. Jeremy Finlayson booted five majors. Sydney Stack was one of few Tigers that played well. In the Brownlow it was Jeremy Cameron with three votes, from Lachie Whitfield and Nick Haynes. 

In terms of recent form, GWS have been well served by Nick Haynes and Zac Williams, while Toby Greene was best in the Giants first couple of finals before missing the thrilling Preliminary Final win due to suspension.

Tom Lynch was the match winner for Richmond in the Preliminary Final with five goals, while Bachar Houli, Dion Prestia and Dustin Martin were other key contributors. 

Recommended Bets: We have suggested a winner and a value pick for both sides. 

Winner: Bachar Houli- Richmond ($11 at BetEasy)

It is hard to overlook Houli in this. The running defender has been finding a stack of the footy during the finals series and plays a similar game as the 2016 winner Jason Johannisen in that he sets up a lot of plays from halfback. He was a tad unlucky not to win the medal in 2017 as the votes went Martin's way. I am a little wary of taking the $6.50 for Martin, given that de Boer could be the go to man for the champion. The Giants tagger has taken out some big names this finals series, including Marcus Bontempelli and frustrated Martin back in Round 3. 

Value: Kane Lambert- Richmond ($26 at BetEasy)

Kane Lambert is definitely one that can sneak under the radar for Richmond. He wont be on the receiving end of a hard tag and was best on ground for the Tigers in the Round 17 clash over the Giants, attracting nine coaches votes after a three goal performance. 

Winner: Toby Greene- GWS Giants ($10 at BetEasy)

If the Giants pull of the upset it will be in some part due to Toby Greene. The in-your-face midfielder/forward finds plenty of the footy and has the ability to kick clutch goals as well. He was the best for the Giants in the Round 17 game and starred in the first two finals for his club this year. 

Value: Jeremy Finlayson- GWS Giants ($67 at BetEasy)

For an out and out roughie, the Giants second major target up forward, Jeremy Finlayson, is worth considering. He kicked five goals in the Round 3 win and may avoid attracting Richmond's best defender, with Dylan Grimes likely to play on Jeremy Cameron. The raking left footer kicked two telling goals in the Preliminary Final win and has had a good finals series to date. 

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Norm Smith Medal Tips - Who will be judged as best player in the 2019 AFL Grand Final?

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