Every year, the league’s biggest goal kickers fight it out in the race for the prestigious Coleman Medal, awarded to the player that kicks the highest number of goals across the home and away season.
Across the last two seasons, West Coast’s Josh Kennedy has taken out the honours with 75 home and away season goals in 2015 followed by 80 goals last year.
As an exercise, we have looked at the major contenders for this years Coleman Medal and attempt to discover what each of their potential goal tallies could be for season 2017.
In order to work this out, we have analysed each contender’s upcoming 2017 fixture, noting in particular the teams in which they play against twice, and then have compared their goal kicking record against each team over the course of the last two seasons.
So, after this analysis of results, here is our forecast Coleman Medal top five for season 2017.
Josh Kennedy (West Coast) = 77 goals
With a home and away goal tally of 155 across the last two years, Kennedy has proven to be the premier spearhead in the game, so it’s no surprise that he ranks on top in this years Coleman Medal forecast.
Kennedy has return encounters with St.Kilda, the GWS Giants and Port Adelaide, all clubs he has averaged at least four goals per game against in the last two years, while he maintains an acceptable average of 3.0 and 2.75 goals against the Bulldogs and Fremantle respectively, the other two teams that the Eagles play twice in season 2017.
Kennedy is also durable, having not missed a match over the last two years for the Eagles.
Lance Franklin (Sydney) = 67 goals
The last forward to reach the 100 goals in a season milestone, Franklin bounced back with a solid season in front of goal in 2016 with 81 majors, after a truncated season 2015 which brought about just 47 goals in 17 matches.
Franklin will enjoy return encounters against Carlton whom he averages five goals a game, and he also possesses a solid record against St.Kilda (average 3.5), Western Bulldogs (3.0) and GWS Giants (2.75). However, Franklin’s record against his former side in Hawthorn is less than ideal, with just six goals coming in his last four games against the Hawks.
Eddie Betts (Adelaide) = 64 goals
The premier small forward in the game, Eddie Betts’ goal scoring ability has improved immensely since crossing to the Crows from Carlton at the end of 2013.
Last season Betts kicked a career-high 75 goals, and while he has return fixtures against Port Adelaide (average four goals per game) and Essendon (5.0), the Crows’ other return matches against Geelong (2.3), Melbourne (2.0) and Hawthorn (1.3) in which Betts doesn’t have the best record, could see his goal tally fall a little this season.
Tom Lynch (Gold Coast) = 57 goals
As the major focal point up forward for the Gold Coast Suns, Lynch played every match in season 2016 for a career-high tally of 66 goals, also polling 11 Brownlow Medal votes in a Suns line up that won just six games.
Lynch will relish an opening round Q-clash against the Brisbane Lions against which he averages 4.5 goals per game, and the Suns’ return clashes with Carlton should see more goals for Lynch whom he averages four goals against. On the negative side, Lynch’s history against the other sides he faces twice is not great with an average of just 2.5 goals against the Hawks, 2.0 against North Melbourne and a lowly 1.0 goals per game versus Port Adelaide.
Josh Jenkins (Adelaide) = 53 goals
Also enjoying a career-best season in front of goal is the 199 centimetre tall Josh Jenkins, who managed 62 majors in 2016. Jenkins produced substantial bags of eight and seven against the Western Bulldogs and St.Kilda respectively, but struggled a little at the end of last season, kicking just five goals in his last four games. In what could hurt his output in 2017, Jenkins fails to average even three goals per game against any of the Crows return opponents, with a best of 2.75 goals per game against Port Adelaide and 2.5 versus the Bombers.
The other notable contenders:
Tom Hawkins (Geelong) = 52 goals
Jeremy Cameron (GWS Giants) = 52 goals
Taylor Walker (Adelaide) = 51 goals
Jack Riewoldt (Richmond) = 50 goals