Kick the buddy goal

IN the space of two days footy fans were able to see some of the worst and best of goalkicking in AFL matches played in the east and west of Australia.

Key players off target in attack way too often

On Friday night, Sydney Swans boom recruit Lance Franklin, pictured, racked up seven consecutive behinds before he finally found range with two crucial goals in the final quarter against Hawthorn.

Less than 48 hours later and West Coast key forward Josh Kennedy booted 11-straight goals in the Eagles big win against GWS Giants at Subiaco.

The Eagles scored 30.8.

Kennedy's 11-goal haul was the best since Franklin booted 13 for the Hawks in 2012 against North Melbourne in Launceston.

The contrasting goalkicking fortunes of Franklin and Kennedy again showed plenty about technique and mental approach.

Franklin's and Kennedy's kicking shows plenty about technical and mental flaws

After several seasons approaching goal with a stuttering approach like Fred Flintstone used in tenpin bowling, Kennedy has made some changes.

For while everything in football has become so much better than a decade or two ago, kicking for goal has not.

Franklin's tally of 2.7, or 3.1 if you want to be kind, is not the first time the gun forward has missed the target.

The Swans coaching staff, players and fans are rapt he is winning plenty of contests, but Buddy's wayward kicking is going to prove costly.

It's a line we read and heard many times during his playing days as a Hawk and now as a Swan.

A few weeks ago there was talk of Sydney employing a chaffeur for Franklin after a car crash.

The Swans hierachy could perhaps look at asking legendary goalkicker Tony Lockett about heading to training for some goalkicking tips with Buddy and the rest of the Swans line-up.

The league's greatest goalkicker, Lockett kicked 1360 goals across 281 games for St Kilda and Sydney.

Lockett, nicknamed Plugger, was a four-time winner of the Coleman Medal for the league's leading goalkicker and passed the century mark in six seasons. He was joint winner of the Brownlow medal with Hawthorn rover John Platten in 1987.

There are a few who could challenge Lockett for accuracy - namely Hawthorn greats Jason Dunstall and Peter Hudson, Collingwood stars Gordon Goventry and Peter McKenna, Geelong's Doug Wade, Richmond's Kevin Bartlett, and Essendon's John Coleman.

Whether it be set-shots or snaps, those eight players rarely missed. Maybe those players spent more time practising goalkicking.

In an era where teams work so hard to set up scoring opportunities, it amazes me that kicking for goal is not what it used to be.

Of the players running around in AFL matches this season, Port Adelaide's Jay Schultz and Collingwood's Jamie Elliott rate as two of the best sharpshooters. 

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