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Cat attack: Selwood reveals new potent streak

Joel Selwood of the Geelong Cats celebrates a goal during the 2013 AFL Round 21 match between the West Coast Eagles and the Geelong Cats at Patersons Stadium, Perth on August 17, 2013. (Photo: Daniel Carson/AFL Media)
Joel Selwood celebrates one of his career-best four goals against West Coast
GEELONG'S Joel Selwood has become a goalkicking machine since he passed the 150-game mark in round 16.

Selwood has booted 14 goals in his five games after reaching that, having kicked just 11 goals in the first 16 games of the season.

His season tally of 25 goals puts him 36th on the goalkicking table, with Adelaide's Patrick Dangerfield (27 goals) the only genuine midfielder ahead of him on the goalkicking table.  

It's 10 more goals than he has kicked in a season previously.

He has kicked at least three goals in four of his past five games after reaching that tally in a game only once in his previous 150 games.

Selwood's goalkicking efforts are related to the emergence of Josh Caddy and Allen Christensen as high half-forward/midfielder types.

It adds another string to the champion's bow and will allow him a bit of freedom as his career develops, removing his body from the battering it received in its first six seasons.

Read more from The Numbers Game with Peter Ryan

Selwood has always won a significant amount of the ball forward of centre but a subtle shift has occurred in the past five weeks, accelerating a trend that can be traced to the start of the 2013 season.

In the first 15 games in 2013, he won 57.8 per cent of his disposals in the forward half. This was the third-highest percentage of the top 50 ball-winners in the game. He won 13.9 per cent of his possessions inside 50, ranking him 18th in the competition among the game's top 50 ball winners.

But in round 17, in his 151st game he began to push forward even harder, diving deeper into the scoring zone.

In the five weeks since that game against Adelaide, when he kicked three goals for the second time in his career, he has managed to use 22.2 per cent of his disposals in the forward half. He has kicked 14.5, with an accuracy ratio of 74 per cent.

Of the game's top 50 ball-winners, only Gold Coast's Harley Bennell (23 per cent) is disposing of the ball more in the forward half. Bennell has kicked 7.10 in that five-week period.

Underlining the point is his consistency in front of goal in 2013. This season he has scored a goal in 13 of his 20 games (or 65 per cent of the time). Leading into the season, he had kicked at least one goal in 35 per cent of his games.

It's an important shift with finals on the horizon and an indication of how midfield depth – in the form of Caddy and Christensen – can make great players even better.

Selwood, a big-game performer, has kicked a goal in his past three finals games, including a critical two goals in the 2011 Grand Final against Collingwood.

If the trend continues he could be holding up a premiership cup by the end of September.

Stats supplied by Champion Data
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs