In my last article I wrote about Alec Albiston, who was born over 101 years ago but appears likely to lose his place amongst the elite top 100 goal kickers of all time in the VFL/AFL in 2019.
Currently he is tied in 99th position with Geelong great Lloyd Hagger and West Coast’s Phillip Matera.
There seems little doubt that Adelaide’s captain Taylor ‘Tex’ Walker will early in the season score the seven goals he needs to reach 390 goals and pass Albiston, Hagger and Matera on 389.
This will push that trio down into the ‘hot seat’; equal 100th on the AFL all-time goal scorers list and at the mercy of the next player to reach 390 goals.
The two players most likely to score the required goals in 2019 are Hawks Luke Bruest and Jack Gunston who both scored over 50 goals in 2018 and would – with a similar performance next season -achieve top 100 AFL goal scorer status.
Bruest currently sits on 358 goals and requires only 32 goals to reach the required mark, so with good form, good fitness and good luck should reach the target early in the second half of the season.
Gunston sits on 341 goals (courtesy of the 20 goals he kicked at the Crows) so will reach the mark later in the year, if at all.
It seems a pity that Lloyd Hagger, whose longevity is even more impressive than Alec Albiston may not be represented at the AFL 100 function after 2019.
Hagger would have turned 120 on the 7th December this year but died over 50 years ago at the age of 69.
Hagger was a ‘classic’ forward, tall for his time (183cm), a great high mark and extremely accurate kick for goals from all angles with both feet.
He was recruited from Barwon thirds in the Geelong and District Football Association and found himself in the Geelong senior side within two weeks of arriving at the club!
1925 was his best year at the club when he lead the VFL goalkicking, kicking 70 goals in 17 home and away games and adding another eight in two finals on the way to a premiership.
A year earlier he had been selected as captain-coach with a 50-50 success rate for the year, so handed over to Cliff Rankin whose brother Bert had originally discovered Hagger when he played in a scratch match against Geelong College.
During 1924, he represented Victoria at the Hobart Carnival and in a match against Western Australia kicked seven goals in Victoria’s narrow eight-point win.
Late in the game he was momentarily knocked out, but refused to leave the ground. In all, he represented the state 12 times.
Hagger also carved out a successful career as a cartoonist at the Sun News-Pictorial.
After leaving Geelong, he played with and coached Camperdown in the Hampden Football League.
Whilst his days as a AFL Top 100 may be limited, there is no doubt that Lloyd Hagger has many years left as a top 100 member at Geelong where he still sits equal 63rd in games played and eighth in goals kicked amongst the 1080 players who have represented the Cats.