Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield has made a record-equalling eighth appearance in the All-Australian team and been selected as captain for the first time.
As the game changes and moves in the most interesting time in the game’s history, one thing in particular that evolves is the position of the key forward in the AFL.
The key forward still remains king when it comes to success at the highest level.
The game has evolved so much to the point where 100 goals in a season almost becomes an anomaly and the big key forward taking big marks and kicking his team to a winning score has slowly been changing in modern-day footy.
The teams who have been at the top of the ladder and will definitely get a taste of finals footy have big key forwards and use them at the coal face to lead their way to the goal.
Port Adelaide – who look to be leading the early premiership market – have Charlie Dixon as their main man up forward.
The way the ladder is shaping up with the big four in Port Adelaide, Geelong, Richmond and West Coast, those clubs all have their big key forward in the top four of the Coleman.
The shift in tide opens the door for the key forward to play a more critical and crucial role in securing a deep run into October.
The only anomaly seems to be the Lions, who have been one of the big contenders in season 2020 without that key forward.
Eric Hipwood’s performance against the Suns on Wednesday provided a different target moving up the ground to free up the 50 for his small forwards in Cam Rayner and Charlie Cameron.
The small forward and the midfielder drifting into unfamiliar territory inside 50 seems to be a game plan left in the past.
Sure, the goals are more spread out between that smaller fleet of goal sneaks but the key forward is still remaining supreme.
The teams nailed to the bottom of the ladder – the likes of the Adelaide Crows and North Melbourne – have seen their key forwards – the likes of Taylor Walker and Ben Brown – be on constant rotation in their ever-changing line-ups. Brown has been injured for the last quarter of the season, seeing them decline slowly on the ladder.
The changing landscape of AFL is seeing a shift back to the ’80s and ’90s with Peter Hudson and Tony Lockett being the big key forward making a great impact on a team’s success moving forward.
Teams need to be investing more in the big forward and making sure that they are understanding and reading the play at their very best.
The Richmond and West Coast ideology has seen them go with Jack Riewoldt, Tom Lynch, Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling. It’s no surprise the duo have claimed the last two premiership cups.