After yet another dominant performance in Round 18, Carlton young gun Sam Walsh has shortened — for the first time this AFL season — into single-figures for the Brownlow Medal.

Everyone in the AFL industry knew Sam Walsh would be a fine footballer. But none probably expected him to be this dominant, this early.

Another incredible effort in Round 18 (38 disposals, five clearances, five tackles, nine marks and six score involvements) dragged the Blues over the line against Collingwood, and further underlined just how good the future captain is. Walsh now averages over 30 touches a game in AFL season 2021 and, with likely three-vote performance in both Round 17 and 18, has shifted into his shortest Brownlow price of the year.

The midfielder, who started the season as a distant $81 shot, is now $9 with Palmerbet to win the 2021 Brownlow Medal.

Will coaches votes translate to the umps?

The Brownlow Medal, as we know, is determined by umpire votes. But if the AFL’s highest individual honour was determined by the coaches, Walsh has had the best ever four-week stretch for Carlton (since the Coaches award was established). His 35 votes in the last month (including perfect 10-vote performances in the last two weeks) has him above 2011-era Judd. He is now just two votes off AFL Coaches Award co-leaders Marcus Bontempelli and Clayton Oliver

For punters that can see Walsh polling well but not quite getting over the line, he is currently a $2.25 chance to finish in the Top 5, with Palmerbet.

No stealers

Perhaps the aspect most in favour of Walsh’s Brownlow bid is the fact he has very few players at Carlton stealing votes from him.

Outright favourite Bontempelli ($2.50 for the Brownlow) will have votes taken from him from Jack Macrae ($15) and Tom Liberatore ($67). Port Adelaide’s Ollie Wines ($4) will have teammate Travis Boak ($34) to fend off. Oliver ($6.50) especially will have fellow Dee midfielder Christian Petracca ($7.50) lurking.

But Walsh is in clear air. The next-best Blue in outright Brownlow betting is skipper Patrick Cripps, way out at $81. Jacob Weitering and Coleman Medal leader Harry McKay have both had brilliant seasons and will likely feature as AFL All-Australians. But as we’ve seen time and time again, key position players rarely grab significant big numbers.

Many, including former winners of the award themselves, think it’s a matter of time before it’s around his neck.

(*Prices correct at 3pm Wednesday July 21)