Tight race for AFL’s Coleman Medal

Almost a third of the way through the AFL home and away season, the race for the AFL’s two most prestigious individual honours is a real study in contrasts.

The moment the AFL match review panel ruled on Monday that Nat Fyfe would not face any prospective suspension for his clumsy trip on Koby Stevens, the Fremantle tyro firmed even further in Brownlow Medal markets.

He’s now a prohibitive $2.50 favourite with the TAB and William Hill, with no other player any shorter than $13.

With the ladder-leading Dockers two games clear atop the AFL ladder, it’s conceivable that Fyfe – who has been brilliant and consistent in equal measures – may have polled Brownlow Medal votes in each of their seven straight victories.

But the picture is much less clear-cut in the Coleman Medal standings.

Although the search for a 100-goal season from any forward looks likely to continue beyond a seventh straight season, there is plenty of quality at the top of the list.

And they are all in pretty good form, with each of the top eight on the Coleman Medal table having kicked three goals or more in round seven.

The group includes three previous winners of the league’s goalkicking award in Sydney’s Lance Franklin, Richmond’s Jack Riewoldt and Hawk Jarryd Roughead, who between them have snared six of the past seven Coleman Medals.

The bookies’ favourite is Franklin, the most-recent player to top the ton with 102 home and away goals in Hawthorn’s premiership year of 2008.

He also won the Coleman in 2011 as a Hawk and last year in his first season with Sydney.

West Coast’s Josh Kennedy leads the way with 27 goals from seven rounds, capped by a season’s best haul of 10 against hapless Carlton back in round two.

By far the most surprising name at the pointy end of the 2015 goalkicking table is St Kilda’s Josh Bruce, who started the year with a modest tally of seven goals in 24 games spent mostly in defence for the Giants and the Saints.

Coach Alan Richardson’s left-field decision to move Bruce forward has proved an inspired one as he has booted 23 goals in seven games, prompting skipper Nick Riewoldt to spend more time up the ground.

The other outlier in the Coleman Medal race is Adelaide cult hero Eddie Betts, all 172cm and 72kg of him in a list otherwise dominated by the big key forwards.

Betts has slotted 26 goals, proving the perfect complement for first-year Crows skipper Taylor Walker (21).

2015 leading goalkickers

27: Josh Kennedy (WC)

26: Eddie Betts (Adel)

24: Jeremy Cameron (GWS)

23: Josh Bruce (SK)

21: Taylor Walker (Adel)

20: Lance Franklin (Syd), Jarryd Roughead (Haw), Jack Riewoldt (Rich)

Coleman medallists since 2008

2008: Lance Franklin (Haw) 102 goals

2009: Brendan Fevola (Carl) 86

2010: Jack Riewoldt (Rich) 78

2011: Lance Franklin (Haw) 71

2012: Jack Riewoldt (Rich) 65

2013: Jarryd Roughead (Haw) 68

2014: Lance Franklin (Syd) 67

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