HORSHAM District Football Netball League’s goal-kicking race is one of the most open – and lowest scoring – of the past two decades.
Swifts coach Ben Martin currently tops the league goal-kicking table with 38 majors from 11 games.
With seven games remaining a further eight players are within nine goals of Martin.
If Martin continues at his current clip of 3.45 goals a game and plays every home-and-away game this season, he will finish with 62 goals.
It is in stark contrast to the 110 goals kicked by Laharum’s Shannon Argall last year, and would be the lowest total to lead the league in more than 20 years.
Only twice since 1993 has the league leader finished with fewer than 75 goals in a home-and-away campaign.
Harrow-Balmoral’s James Staude did it in back-to-back years when he won with 73 goals in 2009 and 64 in 2010.
But Staude has been the only exception to the rule so far.
In the past 10 years, the average number of goals for a leading goal-kicker in the home-and-away season is 95. Martin is far from the only contender for the goal-kicking crown.
Noradjuha-Quantong’s Brian Harrison, 34 goals, is second, but has missed three games with a hamstring injury.
If he maintains his average of 4.25 goals a game for the final seven matches, he would finish on 64 – the same total as Staude in 2010.
Laharum recruit Dylan Parish was on track to kick about 90 goals before going down with a broken collarbone early in the season.
He is still third on the goal-kicking table.
Kalkee’s Josh Beddison, Edenhope-Apsley’s Tom Clissold, Taylors Lake’s Nathan Koenig and Mountain Man Rhys Bennett each have 30 or more goals and remain within striking distance.
No single dominant key forward
League chairman Graeme King said individual goal-kicking totals were likely to keep decreasing as teams looked to spread the scoring load and become more versatile in attack.
“We’re seeing more and more at AFL level that there is no longer a single dominant key forward,” he said.
“The way footy is going, they share the ball around a bit more, and other teams have gotten better with their defensive structures and are able to flood back and gum up the forward line.”
King said the league was likely to see fewer ground invasions to celebrate a player kicking 100 goals in a season, but said lower totals were still good for the game.
“It means there are lower individual totals and there is more intrigue as to who is going to win it,” he said.
“In the past few years there have been one or two clear leaders, but this year you couldn’t pick who is going to win it.”