With 2021’s esteemed E.W. Copeland Trophy set to be crowned on Friday night, here's a look into our predictions for this year’s winner.

Jack Crisp

It will be hard to go past Crisp for this year’s Copeland after an outstanding 2021 season.

A cornerstone of the Collingwood midfield this season, Crisp averaged a career high 27 disposals and 6.73 marks. He ranked elite in the competition for tackles, inside 50’s, total clearances, pressure acts, goal assists and score involvements.

The wider media has put Crisp as a shoe in for the medal this year, particularly in respect to the general opinion that Crisp was unlucky to miss the All Australian squad of 40.

Crisp led the club for votes in the Brownlow and we would expect this trend to continue on Copeland night. 

Games where he will most likely poll votes include rounds 2, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 17, 19, 20 and 22.

Jordan De Goey

After a slow start to the season by De Goey’s high standards, the 25-year-old strung together a fantastic year.

De Goey kicked 23 goals for the season (third at the club), with six of those coming in Round 8 against North Melbourne. Thrust into the midfield in the second half of the season, De Goey’s form improved dramatically.

From Rounds 14 to 23 De Goey averaged 29.42 disposals, 7.43 marks and 2.85 tackles. The increased midfield time in the second half of the year was huge in terms of building his confidence in the role going forward.

Games where De Goey will be likely to poll votes include rounds 2, 8, 13, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22 and 23.

Jordan Roughead

Key defender Jordan Roughead hit the peak of his powers in 2021.

In his third year at the club, Roughead averaged a career high 13.19 disposals and 6.52 marks.

A real leader amongst the group, the experienced Roughead was quite often given the task of shutting down the competition’s best key forwards. His marking prowess, and ability to read the play of the opposition were on display all season long.

In a very consistent year, Roughead’s stand out games included Rounds 3, 10, 12, 15 and 17.

Could this be the first time in a long time that a key defender has gone home with the Copeland around their neck?

Brayden Maynard

What a year for Brayden Maynard, a genuine dark horse for this year’s Copeland. Here’s the thing about Maynard: he is ruthlessly passionate about putting in 110% every week…and it shows in his performances.

This is reflected perfectly by the fact this season Maynard averaged a career high 4.5 1%ers per game, including 13 against West Coast in Round 5. He also averaged a career-high in disposals, kicks, rebounds, marks and contested marks.

From a vote polling perspective, Maynard had some very notable games. Round 13 against Melbourne where he had 32 disposals and 13 marks, sticks out as probably his best for the year. Maynard was also one of just two players to start every game this year.

Expect Maynard to poll heavily through the mid parts of the season, then make a real strong run towards the later rounds.

Scott Pendlebury

The captain is a red hot chance to capture his sixth Copeland in 2021, particularly looking back at how he started the year.

Pendlebury was down on his career averages this season, but still contributed significantly in multiple games. A 25 disposal performance against the Bulldogs followed by back to back 30 disposals performances against the Blues and the Lions, should put him towards the top end of votes early.

Thrown forward during the middle part of the season, Pendlebury struggled to impact as much as we’ve come to expect. In saying that, 21 disposals and two goals against North Melbourne should be good for some votes.

In the end, missing the end of the season with injury might just cost Pendlebury this year.

Look for him to poll votes in rounds 1, 2, 3, 6, 12, 13 (surely), 16 and 17.

Taylor Adams

It was a rollercoaster year for Taylor Adams. The highs were very high, with some outstanding performances coming in 2021, however injury interrupted the champion’s season.

The first half of the season is unlikely to look good on the Copeland leaderboard for Adams, with his performance against Carlton the only game where he’s likely to poll before his injury against GWS in Round 4.

Adams missed 10 of the next 11 games, however returned in style against Fremantle in Round 15. Definitely expect Adams to poll votes in Rounds 15, 16 and 17; a stretch of games where he averaged 32.3 disposals.

Rounds 20 and 22 also look positive for Adams, 34 disposals in a win against West Coast and 27 possessions (22 contested) in a tough night against Brisbane.

Brody Mihocek

Our leading goal scorer this season, Brody Mihocek is set to perform well on the night.

Once again Mihocek put together a strong year, just two goals short of his career best goal tally of 36 in 2019. Notably he kicked 34 behinds in 2021, with inaccuracy in front of goal an area of his game that he will hope is an outlier in what is historically a reasonably strong point.

Mihocek kicked two or more goals on 11 occasions this season, up from nine times in 2019 when he kicked 36 goals. A sign of his improved consistency, this should put him in good stead come the Copeland.

24 disposals, 12 marks and four goals against the Gold Coast Suns in Round 7 should guarantee Mihocek votes.

Steele Sidebottom

The Pies veteran midfielder had a down season this year, averaging just 23.81 disposals per game; his lowest since 2011.

In saying that, Sidebottom still had some outstanding games for Collingwood in 2021, enough that he should poll enough votes to be in contention for the Copeland.

The real standout performance was in Round 20 when he took the mantle of captain. In a true leader’s style, Sidebottom had 33 disposals and a goal to go with a fine victory.

Other games where Sidebottom should be in line to poll votes include Rounds 6, 12, 15 and 19.

Brodie Grundy

The wider media has criticised Brodie Grundy for his output in 2021 being down on his past All-Australian form, however once again he has proven to be a great contributor in Collingwood’s midfield.

His ability to find the football has unrivalled among other ruck men in the competition; with 12 games of 19+ disposals this season.

Grundy also kicked a career high goals this season, with 12 for the season (more than Gawn, Hickey, Marshall, Lycett and McInerney).

We would expect Grundy to poll in quite a few games this year, including: rounds 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 15, 17 and 20.

Jamie Elliott

The dynamic Jamie Elliott only managed 13 games in 2021 after a leg injury against Carlton in Round 2 basically wiped out the first half of the season.

Fortunately for Elliott, Collingwood and Elliott’s Copeland hopes those 13 games were exceptional.

In his first game back Elliott kicked a casual six goals against Adelaide in what was an outstanding display of forward craft and goal kicking. Elliott also amassed a crucial 21 disposals and kicked three goals against reigning premiers Richmond, helping the Pies get over the line in a fantastic win. An impressive 23 disposals against Brisbane in Round 22 was also strong with Elliott finding a lot more midfield time.

Elliott averaged 15.38 disposals and 6.46 contested possessions in 2021, both career highs.

Collingwood Media’s Patrick Quay has predicted his top 10 order:

  1. Jack Crisp
  2. Jordan De Goey
  3. Brayden Maynard
  4. Brodie Grundy
  5. Jordan Roughead
  6. Scott Pendlebury
  7. Brody Mihocek
  8. Taylor Adams
  9. Steele Sidebottom
  10. Jamie Elliott


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