Blue-collar Mitchell tipped for Brownlow

Hawthorn's Tom Mitchell is the hot favourite for the AFL's most prestigious individual honour.
Hawthorn's Tom Mitchell is the hot favourite for the AFL's most prestigious individual honour.

Tom Mitchell's year of blue-collar brilliance is set to be rewarded on Monday evening when he is a near certainty to take home the Brownlow Medal.

The Hawthorn midfielder is the hot favourite to be presented with the AFL's most prestigious individual honour after a runner-up finish last year.

Mitchell would be a deserved champion after a stunning season in which he averaged 36 disposals a game and was fifth for tackles laid.

But he would also be the least fashionable winner since West Coast's Matt Priddis claimed the 2014 medal in a major upset.

The three most recent victors - Richmond's Dustin Martin, Geelong's Patrick Dangerfield and Fremantle's Nat Fyfe - were dynamic and eye-catching hybrids with the size and strength to out-muscle opponents in the midfield and up forward.

Mitchell's highlight reel is certain to be far less spectacular.

The 182cm onballer does his best work at the bottom of packs and is about as likely to be cast forward as he is to be thrown into the ruck.

An old-fashioned footballer who has drawn upon dual Brownlow Medallist Greg Williams to help him cope with attention from opposition taggers, Mitchell's greatest strengths are his clean hands, his footy smarts and his relentless work rate.

Bookmakers have Mitchell a near certainty to win, rating him about a $1.50 chance - the next best is Tigers megastar Dustin Martin, who's listed about $8.

Martin's barnstorming finish to the home-and-away season means he's a chance to go back-to-back after taking last year's medal with a record 36 votes.

Dangerfield polled 35 votes in 2016 and Fyfe 31 in 2015 but this year's count is forecast to be a tighter contest, with the winner likely to poll in the mid to high 20s.

Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn and Collingwood ruck Brodie Grundy are expected to poll well but would need to defy recent history to claim the "midfielders medal".

Australian Associated Press