Since the dawn of defensive football, ‘Clarko’s cluster’ and the press which won Collingwood their premiership in 2010, experts and fans alike have announced the death of the full forward. The days of the Locketts and Dunstalls dominating games seemed like a gem from yesteryear. However, in recent seasons, there has been a re-emergence of key forwards making their mark and kicking bags of goals. Jack Riewoldt, Josh Kennedy and Taylor Walker amongst others have brought the power forward back into vogue. This countdown looks at some of the greatest performances in recent history that could inspire the current era of big men to take charge and stamp their mark on the game.


Lance Franklin – Elimination Final, 2007 (11 kicks, seven marks, 7.2)

Kicking a bag in a regular game is an excellent achievement, but dominating a final is something special. Franklin was in his most successful season since making his debut back in 2005 and was a pivotal piece of the puzzle for Hawthorn’s rebuild under Alastair Clarkson. The game itself was a tight contest for its entirety but Adelaide held ascendancy until the very final minutes. Enter the man they call ‘Buddy’, taking a mark just outside 50 on a tight angle. There are moments in football history that can be seen as the start of a new era. Buddy calming slotting the match-winner was the beginning of the Lance Franklin era and was a magical moment which sticks in all Hawthorn supporters’ minds.

Scott Cummings – round 14, 1994 (10 kicks, eight marks, 8.1)

Now eight goals isn’t exactly a rare occurrence but journeymen forward Scott Cummings makes the list due to the incredible circumstances surrounding his performance. Not only was he incredibly efficient with nine scoring shots from 10 kicks, but he did this all in his very first game. At just 20 years old, Cummings took charge in his debut against the Sydney Swans, kicking a bag of eight and helping the Bombers to a 34-point victory. Cummings would go on to have a tremendous career as a power forward, and will feature again in this list with a famous double-figure haul.

Tony Lockett – round 19, 1995 (18 kicks, 12 marks, 16 goals)

A list about the greatest key forward games wouldn’t be complete without the greatest goakicker of all time. ‘Plugger’ had a day out against the lowly Fitzroy in their second-last season. He kicked an unbelievable 16 goals straight, nearly breaking the long-standing record of 18 held by Fred Fanning. The fact Lockett consistently played at this level shows why he holds the goalkicking record which will most likely never be broken.

Jason Dunstall – round 19, 1996 (19 kicks, 16 marks, 14.2)

There was only a touch under 15 thousand people in attendance, but Jason Dunstall dominated the Bulldogs, kicking 14 goals and keeping himself in a highly competitive Coleman Medal race. His eventual total of 102.45 would have won the last 15 medals, but with legends Lockett and Gary Ablett kicking bags he finished in second place. This performance also came at a time of uncertainty for Hawthorn as they faced a potential merger with Melbourne.

Matthew Lloyd – round three, 1999 (22 kicks, 14 marks, 13.4)

1999 could be considered the year Matthew Lloyd really cemented his place as the best full forward in the competition. In his previous two seasons he finished with respectable totals of 63 and 70 goals but was still in the shadow of the greats like Ablett, Dunstall and Kernanhan. Come round three against the Swans, they were all but gone and the young man from St Bernard’s College exploded with 13 goals which set the stage for a very successful season and a Coleman Medal the next year.

Lance Franklin – round 10, 2012 (22 kicks, 11 marks, 13.4)

The biggest thing to happen in Tasmania since the Beaconsfield miners was Lance Franklin turning it on in front of a tiny crowd and giving the North defenders persistent waking nightmares. It was a performance which had footy tragics feeling nostlagic for the days of double-figures being kicked every single week. The famous cries of “Thirteen! Thirteeeeeeen!”¬†from Anthony Hudson still make the men at Arden Street shiver.

Jonathan Brown – round 16, 2007 (15 kicks, 14 marks, 10.1)

Carlton fans can thank Jonathan Brown for single-handedly ridding them of Denis Pagan and his antiquated coaching tactics. One of the scariest big men to play the game, Browny could do no wrong in a massive 117-point drubbing of the Blues. 10 goals and 14 marks signalled the end of the dark years for Carlton, and solidified Brown as a massive force in the AFL.

Josh Kennedy – round eight, 2014 (14 kicks, 11 marks, 11 goals)

One of the biggest knocks on current players is the inability to kick straight and there has been a number of games in recent years which have been lost purely because of inaccuracy. The fact Josh Kennedy kicked 11 goals without a single miss in today’s game is unbelievable. Luke Breust may be on a roll at the moment, but let’s see him kick double figures in a dominant performance like this.

Brendan Fevola – round three, 2007 (13 kicks, 11 marks, 8.2)

One player’s willpower can turn around his team’s fortunes dramatically, and there is no better example of this than Brendan Fevola’s eight-goal haul against the Bombers in 2007. Carlton were coming off two consecutive wooden spoons and looked headed for an embarrassing loss to the mortal enemy. Early in the second quarter they trailed by over 40 points but Fevola wouldn’t say die. He went on to kick eight goals and two behinds in practically a half after slotting his first just before the main break. It completely changed the momentum of the match and led to a famous three-point victory for the Blues.

Fraser Gehrig – round 20, 2004 (15 kicks, 13 marks, 10.2)

The ‘G-Train’ has the honour of being one of three players to kick 100 goals in a season this millennium and his domination of North Melbourne in 2004 stands out as his best haul. The bollocking full forward laid waste to every defender in his path and showed why he was such a fear entity in the league. Gehrig made a routine of destroying the Kangaroos, with another bag of nine the prior year.