There are two Josh Kennedys running around in the Australian Football League and the one that represents West Coast is a decent bet to win the Coleman Medal at odds of +500 with Bet365 in light of the challenges facing the Eagles.
The Australian Football League awards the Coleman Medal to the player who kicks the highest number of goals during the regular season in which all 18 teams play 22 matches – the competition has an imperfect draw but that is a story for another time. Sydney superstar Lance Franklin won the 2014 Coleman Medal with 67 goals, the third time that the former Hawthorn full forward has received the prize. Franklin was the last Australian Football League player to boot more than 100 goals in a regular season – it has happened only once in the last 16 years – with the Coleman Medal winner usually topping the count with a goal haul around the 75 mark.
Franklin is the universal Coleman Medal favourite and one is not discounting the Sydney superstar’s chance. Franklin is a once-in-a-generation forward and that is why Sydney moved heaven and earth to lure him from Hawthorn, committing to a heavily back-ended nine-year contract that has the potential to impact on its recruitment decisions negatively down the track. Franklin has kicked 13 goals in the first four rounds of the Australian Football League, which is six more goals than he booted by the same point of last season. Barring injury, Franklin is going to be in the Coleman Medal mix.
However, one thinks that Kennedy represents better value in Coleman Medal betting at approximately double the odds that bookmakers are quoting about Franklin going back to back and receiving his fourth award. And it has everything to do with the style of West Coast is likely to play for the remainder of the Australian Football League due to numerous injuries.
In simple terms, West Coast does not have a defence worthy of the name after losing most of its established defenders to long-term injuries either in warm-up games or the first round of the Australian Football League in which it lost 87-97 to Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium. West Coast defender Eric Mackenzie tore an anterior cruciate ligament before the Australian Football League got under way and his Eagles teammate, Mitch Brown, did exactly the same thing in Round One. Key position players do not grow on trees and the Australian Football League does not have a mechanism by which sides can bring in experienced replacements. There is an ongoing debate about the need for a mid-season trade period but, for the time being, teams such as West Coast will have to soldier on with a hugely flawed roster.
West Coast coach Adam Simpson has reacted to his side’s woes by implementing a strategy that places considerable emphasis on attack. Simpson is not an idiot and he realises that West Coast’s only chance of competing in the Australian Football League is to kick loads of goals and win shootouts because the Eagles are not going to limit most teams to low scores.
That is why one is interested in getting on Kennedy, West Coast’s key tall forward, to win the Coleman Medal. Kennedy leads the Coleman Medal count after four Australian Football League rounds with 16 goals, including 10 against Carlton in Round Two. Kennedy has booted at least 60 goals in each of the last two Australian Football League tournaments so he boasts decent Coleman Medal form even when West Coast was playing a more balanced style of Australian Rules football. The sky is the limit for Kennedy in this season’s West Coast side, which is the Australian Football League’s joint highest scoring team after four rounds of action.
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