The 90s was a time when big-pack marks, 10 goal hauls and 100 goal seasons were the norm. It was all about the goal kickers – they were the entertainers, the rock stars of our game and I for one miss them.
Lance Franklin was the last man to kick 100 goals in a season, in 2008 with Brendan Fevola ever-so-close behind him, and before that there was Fraser Gehrig and Matthew Lloyd.
That’s three men to do it in the last 15 years. And I have serious doubts if will ever happen again.
But between 1987 and 1996, 100 goals or more were kicked in a season 17 times, with Tony Lockett and Jason Dunstall both completing the task six times including a massive 145 by Dunstall in ’92.
It truly was the time of the full forward – or just the forward for that matter, Peter Daicos Kicked 97 in 1990, which is the equivalent of Steve Johnson doing it today.
Remember when crowds at Waverly used to follow the big forward from end-to-end too to either cheer them or to abuse them? It always seemed the most-hated opposition player was the full forward, because these men often won games off their own boot.
Jason Dunstall kicked 17 in one game against Richmond in 92. Collingwood kicked five against Fremantle two weeks ago. Yes, five.
It was all so simple, kick it to the big bloke who was one-on-one in the 50, he will mark it and kick a goal. They didn’t kick it backwards in those days, it was always attack. If someone like Travis Cloke could adhere to that style of play he could dominate like no other.
I know the game has changed since the days when games were played at suburban venues, but the fundamentals have not = goals win games. I’m sick of hearing about zones and structures, just kick the ball through the big sticks, always attack and stick on your man – it’s bloody simple. If you kick to a one-on-one in the 50, more times than not you will score a goal from it.
The fans loved it and it was a great way to market our game like Tony Locket is Sydney or even Mark Jackson in the States. I was there the day the crowd stormed the ground for Lockett’s 1300th goal at the SCG it was a truly amazing experience.
I have listed the 10 greatest forwards, not just full forwards, to have played the game between 1987 and 2000.
10. Stephen Kernahan 9. Peter Daicos 8. Paul Salmon 7. John Longmire 6. Stuart Lowe 5. Tony Modra 4. Gary Ablett Snr 3. Tony Lockett 2. Jason Dunstall 1. Wayne Carey