Interesting finish to Coleman Medal race - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Interesting finish to Coleman Medal race

John Salvado 25/07/2011 02:49:21 PM Comments (0)

Lance Franklin has firmed as the favourite to win a second Coleman Medal, but there could still be a twist or two in the tale.

With six rounds of the AFL home and away season remaining, four other players remain within six goals of the Hawthorn superstar.

And that group doesn't include pint-sized tyros Stephen Milne and Eddie Betts, who booted match-winning hauls of eight goals for St Kilda and Carlton respectively over the weekend.

Franklin moved to 51 goals, one clear of last year's leading goalkicker Jack Riewoldt, with a five-goal tally against Melbourne on Sunday.

Riewoldt also bagged three against Geelong.

The general consensus is that Riewoldt can't top the goalkicking again because of the Tigers' flagging form, although it's worth noting it didn't do him any harm whatsoever in 2010.

What might be more relevant is that Riewoldt and Richmond have only five games still to play in the home and away season - one less than Franklin's Hawks.

If team form is relevant, then surely third-placed Travis Cloke is still right in the running.

He managed only two goals in Collingwood's regulation victory over Gold Coast - for a season's total of 45 - six behind Franklin.

The general perception that Cloke is a poor set shot for goal may make it hard for many punters to take him seriously as a potential Coleman winner.

But the truth is that Cloke gets plenty of scoring opportunities courtesy of the blue-chip service he receives from the Collingwood midfield and his rare talent for taking contested marks.

A goal further back on 44 is West Coast centre half-forward Josh Kennedy - which is no great surprise - and Carlton's Andrew Walker - which is a huge shock.

Less than 12 months ago Carlton were seriously considering whether to trade Walker.

The former No.2 draft pick had often flattered to deceive as a running half-back flanker who had only managed 37 goals in 103 games.

But Walker has been reborn in 2011 as a medium-sized forward, booting four more against Essendon on Saturday night as well as reeling in one of the all-time great high marks.

Cloke and Kennedy each have six games to play in the regular season, one more than Walker.

What is certain is that for the 12th time in the last 13 years, a double-figure tally will be good enough to claim goalkicking bragging rights.

Since 1998, when Tony Lockett won his third Coleman with a 107-goal haul, only Franklin, with 102 in 2008, has topped the ton in the home and away season.

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