Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge is unwilling to predict whether Josh Bruce’s 10-goal effort against North Melbourne is a sign a player could kick 100 goals in a season but he admits the effort puts the discussion back on the agenda.
With the man-on-the-mark rule opening up play and scores increasing, the game’s leading goalkickers are just below 100 goals in a season pace after two rounds.
And coaches are adopting an attacking approach, with Beveridge admitting the Bulldogs opened up their forward line late in the game to help Bruce kick 10 goals on their way to their 128-point demolition of the Kangaroos.
“I don’t know whether it is going to be a trend,” Beveridge said when asked about the return of high-scoring forwards.
Sydney champion Lance Franklin was the most recent player to kick 100 goals in a season, having achieved the milestone in 2008 when playing with Hawthorn, with 10 goals being kicked in a match on just 11 previous occasions since 2010. In the 1990s there were 69 occasions when a player kicked 10 goals in a game.
Bruce sits on 14 goals after his haul, with two of his three previous bags of six (his highest previous tally) also coming against North Melbourne and the other being against the Gold Coast.
He battled last season – his first at the Bulldogs – but he returned fitter for pre-season and has started better.
“I’m ecstatic for him,” Beveridge said. “He went away and trained hard … he definitely came back a bit lighter.”