There is only one prize bigger than the AFL premiership on the big final day, the Norm Smith Medal awarded to the best on the field.
Named in honor of Norm Smith, legendary player and coach for Fitzroy, Melbourne and South Melbourne from 1935 to 1972, the medal is decided by a panel of experts who vote during the final game of the AFL season.
Daily Mail Australia and Bet Right have teamed up to give you a look at the players most likely to win the prize and their path to victory.
Currently, Collingwood champion Nick Daicos is the hot favorite to win the Norm Smith Medal, followed by teammate Jordan De Goey and Brisbane Lions Brownlow medal winner Lachie Neale.
Collingwood superstar Nick Daicos is the leading contender for the Norm Smith Medal in just his second season in AFL football.
His Magpies teammate Jordan De Goey is the next favorite and should be heavily involved in the decision against the Lions.
Brownlow Medal winner Lachie Neale should be key for Brisbane and if the Lions win he could also win the Norm Smith Medal.
Bet Right CEO Anthony Waller explains how the Magpies and Lions reached the big ball in 2023.
“Our 2023 grand finalists have a long and storied rivalry in the AFL, dating back to 1993, when a young Nathan Buckley left the Bears after just one season to join Collingwood,” he said.
“Buckley went on to win a Brownlow, six club best and fairest, seven All-Australians jumpers and a Norm Smith medal.
“But ironically, it was the Brisbane Lions who beat Buckley’s Magpies in not one, but two grand finals, in 2002 and 2003.
“Twenty years later, these two proud clubs face each other for the third time on the last day of September, having been the two strong favorites for most of the 2023 season.
“By finishing in the top 2, the Lions gave themselves every chance of playing their final in their fortress of Gabba and were able to easily get the better of Port Adelaide, then overcome a 5 goal start from Carlton in the preliminary final .
“Collingwood fans had a much more stressful journey in this match – a narrow 7-point win over Melbourne seemed like a comfortable margin compared to Friday night’s nail-biting 1-point thriller against GWS.
“But then again, the Pies have been defined by their ability to win in close games over the last 24 months. They will start as favorites at $1.75 with the line set at -4.5.’
Recent double Brownlow medalist Lachie Neale will be hoping not to emulate Buckley’s efforts from two decades ago, with Buckley winning a Norm Smith and a Brownlow while losing two grand finals in the same period.
“Bet Right are offering odds of $7.50 for Neale to win the Norm Smith Medal, behind Nick Daicos ($4.50) and Jordan De Goey ($6),” Waller said.
It’s hard to believe Daicos is only 20 years old and in his second season at AFL level, but he has risen to every opportunity presented to him so far and , like Neale, does not want to follow in the footsteps of club great Nathan Buckley in losing today.
Meanwhile, the AFL has announced the Norm Smith Medal voting panel for the upcoming grand final.
The panel, chaired by former Western Bulldogs player Luke Darcy, includes three-time All-Australian Eddie Betts, ex-Swan Jude Bolton, AFL journalist Sarah Olle and 2018 Norm Smith winner Luke Shuey.
The panel will rank the best players on the field during the final minutes of the match, with Darcy’s votes breaking any ties.
The panel is prohibited from consulting others on voting or using mobile phones during the match, in line with AFL integrity rules.