Punters are extremely lucky to have this years Coleman Medal ladder so close at the top for this time of the year, it’s been one of the closest years heading into the AFL finals in years, just a few weeks ago the prospect of a small forward winning the Coleman was a real chance. Now the bookmakers (and their odds suggest) that Jack has it in the bag, so to speak, but believe me, this is still a 4 horse race and anything can happen in football. An injury in the first quarter, torrential rain or gusty wind, simply playing a shocker of a game, a massive upset which leads to very few opportunities and poor delivery, double and triple teaming by the opposition simply to prevent you scoring goals, even if the goals are given to other team members, a goal kicker being unusually inaccurate… and the list goes on.
While I said anything can happen in football, it’s pretty much a certainty at this point in time that the 2018 Coleman Medal winner will be one of the following four players. It’s obvious that the favourite deserves to be Jack Riewoldt, the in-form and almost unstoppable Tigers are peaking at the right time this year and they’re eager to defend their premiership and having Jack as the AFL’s leading goalkicker would please the team plenty if they’re also to go on and win the ultimate prize – the 2018 AFL Premiership Cup.
One of these 4 will be the 2018 Coleman Medal Winner
1. Jack Riewoldt – Richmond – 60 Goals
Deserves to be the favourite but those odds are ridiculous. Unless you already have a bet on Jack, I would suggest that you didn’t bet on him right now. He could go into some multi’s, but even then, he’s not going to add much value – and what if he loses – how would you feel then?
Jack Riewoldt is currently in the lead, at the very top of the Coleman ladder with 60 goals, 31 behinds with a decent average of 2.9 goals a game. Looking at those behind numbers proves that Jack’s a pretty accurate kick for goal as well. Richmond are playing the Bulldogs this week, and saying that they aren’t performing as well as we’d hoped is an understatement. Whatever it is that’s happened since their grand final win in 2016, every team in the comp would probably be trying to figure out what happened just as much as the Bulldogs are, if nothing else simply to prevent it happening to them. It doesn’t look like they’ve put the cue in the rack just yet, though. The ‘dogs have won their last 3 matches, but two of those teams aren’t really worth mentioning, the other team, the Kangaroos, aren’t known for their consistency. With all that said, if the Bulldogs want to stop Jack from making the 2018 Coleman Medal win a certainty, their young defenders, alongside Dale Morris are going to need to help prevent one of the best contested marking players in the game.
2. Ben Brown – North Melbourne – 58 Goals
If he’s on, he can easily overtake Jack. If he’s not, he might not score a single goal. One of Brown’s main weaknesses has been his inconsistency. If he was as consistent as the other three players in the final stretch to winning the Coleman, he’d most likely be a few lengths in front at the final turn and not looking like tiring at all (excuse the horse racing terminology). Instead he’s had three games where he’s scored donuts, and three games with only a single sausage roll. That’s not good enough for a player of his ability.
Ben Brown has been a shining light for the Kangaroos this year, when he’s on. When he’s not, a lot of supporters are reminded about some of his earlier years and why the coaches persisted with him. He’s offered his team a donut 3 times this year in losing games and that’s just not good enough as a key forward on the kind of salary he would be taking home. On the other hand, there’s been 10 games where he’s kicked 4+ goals, the team lost 4 of those. So it isn’t a case of Brown performing well and the team wins, but it does go a long way to helping the team win if he can impact the scoreboard more consistently. The good news is the ‘roos play the last game of the round, so He’ll know exactly how many he needs to kick – on second thought, perhaps that’s a bad thing. St. Kilda don’t look like they’ll make it easy for him to kick a big bag, this week Brown could kick anywhere between 0 and 10 goals, whatever he kicks this week, if he’s going to be half a chance, he’ll need to improve on his 2.16 goal average.
3. Tom Hawkins – Geelong – 56 Goals
Geelong are in a precarious position right now, only a few weeks ago things were looking rosy for them. He’s playing at home which is a huge advantage, I wouldn’t put it past him to kick a few but perhaps not quite enough to take the lead in the race for the Coleman.
Tom Hawkins is ready to strike and win if he can have another day out. Currently on 56.27 and playing the Gold Coast Suns at the Cats home ground, the GMHBA Stadium definitely helps the big marking forward’s chance of winning the Coleman. The main concern of mine, and most other punters, is that Tomahawk has relied on a few massive bags of 6 last week and 7 each in consecutive games in rounds 18 and 19. Kicking another big bag this week may not be as easy. Gold Coast have beaten the favoured Geelong side twice in their last five meetings, the Cats have also lost quite a few winnable games this year, on the flip side of the coin, most of their losses have come from teams firmly inside the top 8. Finally, it wasn’t that long ago that the Suns upset an overconfident Sydney Swans at the SCG in round 18.
4. Lance Franklin – Sydney – 57 Goals
Expect anything from Buddy, he could kick 10 against the Hawks with their young defence, at those crazy odds he’s definitely worth a small bet, even though I barrack for the Hawks and there is a lot riding on this game, I could definitely see Buddy kicking a lot of goals if they win the clearances.
Lance “Buddy” Franklin looks like the major danger to me at the moment. Buddy is sitting on 57 goals, playing against his now ancient former club at home on the small SCG. The last time Franklin played the Hawks at the SCG – Round 10, 2017, he kicked 5.1, if he repeated or improved on that score it would put him on 62 goals. Depending on how the game plays out and considering just how important this game is to both teams top 4 aspirations, it wouldn’t be surprising to many people if he kicked even more than the last time he played.
At those odds, it seems pretty sure the bookmakers already think Riewoldt’s name is written on the Coleman Medal. If you’re anything like me, you will see some value in this market. I wouldn’t be putting too much on anyone here, but a unit on Franklin looks overs – he’s known to kick big bags on small grounds, he thrives on pressure and loves big moments in games of footy – taking the lead from one of Riewoldt or Hawkins with only Brown to play may just help inspire him to play a blinder. He’d only need to kick 2 more than Brown to win outright.
Good Luck, and Happy Punting!
These odds were correct at the time of posting and are subject to change
No matter who you choose to bet on, or if you decide not to have a punt at all, just remember to have fun, enjoy yourself and stop if you think you’re no longer in control.