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Return of the century?

Bryce Shilton  August 22, 2017 10:39 AM

Kicking 100 Goals: Will it happen again? Tony Modra, Eddie Betts and David Teague discuss whether or not a player can kick 100 goals in a single season ever again.
The spectators want to see scoring, the AFL want scoring… so who knows

It’s a sight we may not see again. Fans swarming the oval to celebrate one of the ultimate individual achievements in Australian Football.

Just four players have kicked 100 goals or more in a season since the turn of the century. The last to do so was Lance Franklin, then a Hawk, in Round 22, 2008.

Before that, it was Tony Lockett in 1998. Since Franklin, no player has even hit the 90s.

Tony Modra captured the hearts of an entire generation when he hit the 100-goal milestone in 1993, becoming the first and only Crow to do so.

In front of 8,545 at Princes Park, ‘Modra Mania’ was in full effect as the forward lined up for goal from 35 metres out.

“I was pretty much in front, so I kicked the goal,” recalls Modra.

“All I remember is that it was a fantastic feeling when the players came around and embraced me before the crowd ran out."

With tactics constantly evolving, the modern game has advanced to see successful teams now requiring a spread of goalkickers.

But as fans call for more exciting football, the days of the high-scoring forward could come back into vogue, suggests Adelaide assistant coach David Teague.

“Right now, the trend is (to not score)… it’s a very defensive game. The rules are continuously changing. The spectators want to see scoring, the AFL want scoring… so who knows,” Teague said.

Modra agrees, pointing to the growing skillsets of footballers coming into the system.

“You get a lot of players these days that have a lot of attributes to their game, so it can definitely happen again,” Modra said.

For Eddie Betts, his role as a forward has changed significantly since starting his career with Carlton in 2005.

“When I first started, I was in the forward pocket with Brendon Fevola. ‘Fev’ would kick bags of goals and we wouldn’t leave the forward 50,” Betts said.

“The ball would be in our defensive 50 and we’d be sitting there, having a yarn down in the forward 50.”

Fevola was famously left stranded on 99 goals in the very same game where Franklin notched his ton.

The game has evolved significantly even in the past decade since Franklin's milestone, and Betts said the century could prove a bridge too far in the modern game.

“It’s tough, the game has changed. These days you have to get up the ground and then get back, so it’s pretty quick. The game just flies,” said Betts.

“I love when people kick bags, but it’s hard these days.

"Some days you might have a great day and you might turn it on, then other days someone else might pop up and kick three or four.”

Adelaide boasts three players currently inside the top 16 of the Coleman Medal race and remains the highest scoring team in the AFL. 

“One of our strengths is our ability to be multi-pronged,” Teague said.

“If teams want to try and defend one (player), we’ve got other avenues to goal. Our biggest strength is our selflessness.

"The guys are willing to share it around. They don’t care who kicks the goal, as long as the team’s kicked a goal.”