AFL — Two big movers now medal favourites

A resurgent star and breakout rookie have both made dominant starts to 2022. And after Round 10, they’ve surged into favouritism in two AFL medal markets.

They’re two players with polar opposite career trajectories. But at the end of the most recent round of footy, both can lay claim to being Palmerbet’s favourites for two huge individual honours. Carlton star Charlie Curnow and young Hawks midfielder Jai Newcombe are now the Coleman Medal and Rising Star favourites respectively, after both started as huge outsiders prior to Round 1.

Injury-plagued Curnow had huge question marks hanging over his head, and prior to Carlton’s season-opener against Richmond was $21 to grab the AFL’s goal kicking prize in 2022. Now? Well he’s surged past all the game’s key forwards and is into a $3 outright favourite with Palmerbet. Similarly, Newcombe had a host of players ahead of him in betting markets as the season opened. Namely, high draft picks Nick Daicos and Jason Horne-Francis who were expected to romp it in this season. But after starting as a $26 outsider, Newcombe is the new main man at $2.15.

Charlie fulfils promise

Recurrent knee injuries led to genuine worries young Curnow would never fulfil his huge potential. After playing just four games in the past two AFL seasons, he was expected to take some time to ease into 2022. Teammate and reigning Coleman Medalist Harry McKay presumed to shoulder most of the forward load. But Curnow has blown the competition out of the water. A six-goal best-on-ground performance against the Swans in Round 10 saw the young forward surge (in that game alone) from $6.75 into the $3 Coleman Medal favourite with Palmerbet. He overtook Richmond’s Tom Lynch and Geelong’s Tom Hawkins on the way. Few defenders can stop him at present.

Jai time

For Newcombe, his rise is nothing short of incredible. This time a year ago, he was playing for the Hawthorn’s VFL affiliate Box Hill with just six games to his name. Now, the apprentice carpenter from Poowong in Gippsland, is arguably the Hawks’ most important midfielder. Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell was particularly keen on Newcombe in last year’s mid-season draft — a new phenomenon in itself in the AFL. Mitchell was particularly impressed with Newcombe’s tough attack on the footy and long raking kick. He showed his hard approach from the outset, registering 14 tackles in an upset win over the Swans in his debut.

This year, however, he’s brought his game to a new level. Since Round 4, Newcombe has averaged 25 disposals a game. Even he admits he’s surprised with how quickly he’s adapted at AFL level. But punters have certainly stood up and noticed.