Begrudgingly agreeing with Boris
Begrudgingly agreeing with Boris

One of the casualties of the modern game is the prolific scoring full-forward.

And this year adds weight to the debate that we may never again see a Coleman Medal won with more than 100 goals.

One of the great joys of football of the VFL in the 80s and AFL in the 90s was the battle of the key forwards and the race to the magical ton.

Bernie Quinlan, Tony Lockett, Jason Dunstall, Tony Modra, Brian Taylor and Gary Ablett Snr all topped the ton during the goal scoring glory days from 1983 (Quinlan, 106 goals) to 1998 (Lockett, 107) when the 100-goal mark
in the qualifying season was topped in 13 of the 15 years.
They were the days.

It begs the question of whether we will ever see that magical mark reached again?

The evidence on display this season suggests that if it happens again it will be the cause of much celebration.

Buddy Franklin was the last player to breach the mark when he kicked 102 goals in the 2008 home and away season.

Since then, Brendon Fevola won the medal with 86 goals in 2009, Jack Riewoldt in 2010 with 78 and Buddy again last season with 71.

Given a good run with injuries — Franklin missed seven games this year — the big Hawk looks the most likely of any of the current forwards capable of booting the 100.

While big forwards remain essential to the game, these days coaches want the goal-scoring load to be shared because it provides different and less predictable avenues to goal.

You only need to cast your mind back to last Saturday’s game between West Coast and Collingwood to demonstrate the spread of players who score goals. West Coast had a remarkable 14 goal scorers in the 15-goal tally, with Luke Shuey the only multiple scorer.

Leading into the final round of the home-and-away season, Fremantle skipper Matthew Pavlich led the running with 60 goals while Jack Riewoldt (59) and Tom Hawkins (58) were in contention.

But unless one of them kicks a big bag in the final round, the total for this year’s Coleman winner was in danger of being the lowest since Leigh Matthews kicked 67 in 1975.

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