@Oscillator They appear both after the OP and at the bottom of the page in every thread I look at.
Can confirm. Maybe it's always been this way and I've never noticed? In any case, I don't think it's a good idea, because at low resolutions or with long opening posts, the rest of the thread may not be visible without scrolling, and the post count may be easily missed next to the large reply buttons, which could result in replying without reading the whole thread. Even if I'm being paranoid, it does at least look a little odd.
Something I WOULD like to see though is page links at the top of each page.