Williams challenges AFL big man theory - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Williams challenges AFL big man theory

By Sam Lienert 26/05/2005 09:59:15 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson believes Mark Williams' charge to the top of the AFL goal-kicking table challenges the time-honoured theory that a winning club needs a big full-forward.

Williams' competition-leading 37 goals - 32 of which have came in the past six rounds - include match-winning hauls of eight against Melbourne and five against Fremantle in the past two rounds, which have led the Hawks to two huge upset wins.

Behind the 180cm Williams on the league goal-kicking table, is Richmond's Nathan Brown (183cm), in second place on 32, while another little man, Melbourne's Russell Robertson (184cm) is also in the top five with 25 goals.

Richmond giant forward Matthew Richardson (27 goals) and St Kilda goliath Fraser Gehrig (25 goals) are the two power forwards among the mosquito fleet leading the Coleman Medal race.

Clarkson said the scoring rate of small forwards this season, particularly Williams, challenged his own long-held beliefs.

"Together with Nathan Brown and Brad Johnson and other forwards in the competition, he's making all coaches and strategists of the game think again about what sort of forward structure you need to have to be able to be consistent on a regular basis," Clarkson said.

"It just seems that at the current time the big, dominant high-marking forward isn't at such a high premium as he's been in past years."

Williams' dominance of the Hawks' forward line is such that he has kicked 30 per cent of his team's goals, with Ben Dixon the next best with 11.

So unexpected was his rise to the top of the league goal-kicking tally that TAB Sportsbet did not have Williams among a group of 30 players it was taking bets on for the Coleman Medal at the start of the season.

The agency did not receive a single inquiry about Williams until after round four, when one interested punter placed $40 on him at the long odds of $150-1.

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