No AA, no worries: Boak’s unique Brownlow bid
ONLY three players in history have won the AFL’s most coveted individual award, the Brownlow Medal, but missed out on All Australian selection in the same year – but could that list grow to four in 2019?
This year’s AA team was released earlier this month, and one of the glaring omissions from the 22-man side was Port Adelaide superstar Travis Boak, who some have tipped as a smoky to take home Charlie at the AFL’s night of nights.
The midfielder was named in the initial 40-man squad, but missed the final cut in favour of some of the competition’s other elite on-ballers including Brisbane’s Lachie Neale, Fremantle skipper Nat Fyfe, Collingwood’s Scott Pendlebury and Western Bulldogs ball magnet Jack Macrae.
Power team-mate Robbie Gray, speaking on SEN radio earlier this month, thought Boak was unlucky to be overlooked.
“I thought he would’ve been in (the team), he had an amazing year,” Gray said.
“He’s the number one mid for us every week, he copped a lot of attention week in, week out, but really worked hard to work his way through it.
“I was really proud of the year he had; he’s probably had a tough couple of years playing different roles, but he just came back and trained as hard as ever in the off season, like he always does, but got really good rewards for that.
“I thought he had a fantastic year.”
Boak’s omission also riled Power fans on social media, with some taking to Twitter to declare he was stiff to not be selected.
Currently an $81 chance according to Sportsbet, with Geelong’s Patrick Dangerfield ($2.75) – who was named in the AA team on a half-forward flank – and Neale ($4.50) widely tipped as the frontrunners, the former Power skipper started the season on fire and could well be leading the race across the first 12 rounds.
Boak was among Port’s best in the opening two games against Melbourne and Carlton, dominated the round six clash against North Melbourne with 38 touches, and was still solid later in the year, highlighted by a herculean 40 touches in his side’s one-point loss to the Giants in round 19.
Only three men have won the Brownlow but missed out on All Australian selection in the same season – Melbourne’s Shane Woewodin in 2000, Hawthorn’s Sam Mitchell (2012), and West Coast’s Matt Priddis (2014) – and Boak would become the fourth, if successful.
The 31-year-old, who seemed to play with far more freedom this season after relinquishing the captaincy at the end of 2018, won’t be helped in his Brownlow push by the Power’s performance after the mid-season bye, which yielded only five wins from 11 matches.
Regardless, Gray said he’d expect his long-time mate to be in the mix.
“Hopefully Trav can poll a lot of votes, he normally polls pretty well and I think he’ll poll a lot this year,” he said.
“Hopefully he can get close to it.”