Lockett, Dunstall, Ablett, Lloyd and Kernahan just a few names of some of the greatest full forwards of all time and sadly something we may never see again is the dominance these players had in games and seasons. It’s been 9 seasons since we had a player kick over 100 goals in the home and away season and that was Buddy Franklin where he had 4 games with 8 or more goals, and who could forget Brendan Fevola trying to go for his 100th in the last few minutes of the last game it just wasn’t meant to be stranded on 99.
It’s not that there isn’t the talent to kick the ton it’s the way the game is played the big power full forward as a role has changed so much no longer do they plant themselves in the goal square and lead up to the ball.
The game has changed they now need to be defenders pushing up the ground as teams play there full oval presses, too often we see a team breaking from half back get to the wing and they have to stop, there is no one forward of the ball. It so frustrating as a spectator to watch, I wish teams would at least leave two or three forwards in there half so there was someone to kick too.
It was Buddy again in 2012 that kicked 13 Goals in a game against North Melbourne, before that it was Scott Cummings who kicked 14 for West Coast against the Crows all the way back in 2000 since we had someone break into the top 20 all time for goals in a game. We get excited now when a player kicks 6 goals in a game and think it is almost super human when someone kicks 8 or 10 goals in a game. Plugger Lockett makes the list three times with 16, 15 and 13 goals in a single game not to mention many bags of 8 or more, in fact he averaged 4.8 goals a game. Last years Coleman medalist Josh Kennedy kicked 82 goals at an average of 3.5 goals a game, the previous two year Kennedy again and Buddy topped the list but again averaged 3.5 or less goals a game.
For a player to now kick 100 goals in a season they need to average just over 4.5 goals a game, of the current crop of players there are only a handful that look capable of doing this but I don’t think any ever will, let’s have a look at the current best forwards in the league and a look at those who may one day crack the magical 100.
1. Bubby Franklin – Still one of the most exciting forwards in the game but Sharing the forward line with Tippet and Reid plus the goals scored by midfielders now if Buddy can kick 60 to 80 goals then his job is done. As he starts to head into the twilight of his career his output will start to decline around the ground and if he becomes a permanent full forward playing from the square maybe just maybe he could be the one to do it.
2. Josh Kennedy – Eagles pretty much got a steal with him and he hasn’t looked back, one of the most powerful boots in the competition distance is almost never a factor when he has the ball. Accuracy at times has hindered him, but is capable of kicking big bags and is still in his prime for the next couple years. He is a chance but unless the Eagles can find a way to kick winning scores outside of Western Australia 100 goals may just be a bit out of reach.
3. Jeremy Cameron – Big strong mark and a beautiful kick everything a powerhouse full forward should be, out of the next generation he looks like he could be absolutely anything. He has one of the best midfields delivering him the ball but they also get their own goals. With Patton in the side also (when he is fit) also casts a big long shadow over the ground and they share the forward line well. For Cameron to be a legitimate shot he needs to play as a permanent full forward and for Patton to be at Half Forward or be traded. Cameron will be better than Kennedy more accurate but may not get as many shots on goal, He is still young and will have plenty of opportunities to kick some bags with many seasons of 75 plus goals.
4. Joe Daniher – Pure bred footballer 200cm tall but can run like a mid and is so very athletic. He has had some accuracy problems in front of goal but is very capable of kicking a bag of goals. Still very young he will mature a lot over the next couple seasons and as Essendon improve as a team he will get many more opportunities for shots on goal as Essendon main target up front. Like Cameron I would be expecting 70 goal seasons from him in the next couple years and if all the stars align could push for 100.
5. Tom Lynch – Has showed signs this year of what could be, has been a victim of his sides poor ability and has often been a lone shining light for the Suns. Like many modern day forward is tall, quick and can kick the ball very well. Capable of kicking a score but needs to find a bit of help around the ground to be a real threat at kicking big bags week in week out. The Suns as a team have made plenty of bad choices in trading and drafting but still have plenty of talent and potential to be able to build a team around Lynch as your main forward.
We may be waiting for a few years to get to the 100 goal season again, the modern game isn’t structured the way needed for this to happen. It will take time for these young guns to develop enough to be kicking enough goals like Buddy and Kennedy. There is few better things in a game than seeing a full forward in full flight, leading up from the square taking a big pack mark and kicking a bag of goals. They only needed 8 kicks in a day to kick 6 goals and change the complexion of a game, much like Jack Riewoldt for the Tigers last weekend.