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The Chase: Can an Eagle soar into the record books?

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Made possible by Wolf Blass logo

MISSING five matches in the middle of the season and still leading the Coleman Medal race?

It's all in a season's work for West Coast's Josh Kennedy, who is chasing his third consecutive Coleman as the AFL's leading goalkicker. 

Kennedy currently sits on top of the goalkicking chart, leading Joe Daniher by four goals, and can sew up this year's medal at the end of this round. 

The 30-year-old didn't play between rounds 11 and 16 (West Coast had a bye in round 12) due to a calf and Achilles injury, making his Coleman Medal lead even more noteworthy. 

Kennedy is averaging exactly four goals a match from his 16 games this season, after starting off the season with a bang, kicking seven goals against North Melbourne.

The forward loves coming up against the weaker sides, with bags of six against Fremantle, Collingwood, the Brisbane Lions and former side Carlton this season.

The stats within the streak

If Kennedy wins his third straight Coleman, he will be the first player to do so since Gary Ablett snr, who achieved the feat from 1993 to 1995. 

As impressive as leading the League in goalkicking for three years running is, Kennedy still has some way to top the all-time consecutive count. 

Two legendary forwards, Essendon's John Coleman and Collingwood's Gordon Coventry, have both had five-year winning streaks as the competition's leading goalkicker.

ALL-TIME
Consecutive Colemans Player Club(s)
5 (1949-1953) John Coleman Essendon
5 (1926-1930) Gordon Coventry Collingwood
4 (1907-1910) Dick Lee Collingwood
3 (1993-1995) Gary Ablett snr Geelong
3 (1963-1965) John Peck Hawthorn
3 (1943-1945) Fred Fanning Melbourne

Coventry's 1926-30 streak helped drive the Magpies' four-peat premiership heroics.

He was such an influential figure, the leading goalkicking medal was named after him in 1981. Medals were retrospectively awarded back to 1955, the year after Coleman retired. 

Another legendary Collingwood forward, Dick Lee, was the competition's leading goalkicker eight times (1907-10, 1914, 1916, 1917, 1919), the most of any player.

Fast fact: If Kennedy goes goalless in round 23 and still wins the Coleman, his tally will be the lowest since John Peck’s 56 goals in 1965.

The Chaser: The elusive first final

It's safe to say Jack Watts had a tumultuous start to his career. The first pick in the 2008 NAB AFL Draft, Watts was thrust into the spotlight by a struggling Melbourne at a young age.

The versatile forward has the ability to turn a game on its head, but has battled to hold a spot in the senior line-up recently between injury and poor form. 

Watts has yet to play a final in his 152-game career, the third-longest drought by any current player.

With Melbourne poised to make its first finals appearance since 2006, can Watts force his way back into the team?

Interestingly, former Demon Lynden Dunn holds the record for the most games without a final of any current player (181 matches).

Now at Collingwood, hackles were raised at Melbourne after Magpie Taylor Adams said Dunn loved Collingwood because he had not been at a successful club before. 

With the Pies missing the finals for a fourth successive year, Dunn can only watch on while his former Demon teammates are likely to play in September. 

Another Demon, Colin Garland, will also be a spectator during the finals series, unable to break his 141-game drought due to a torn ACL.

Fast fact: The all-time record for most games without a final is 230 by St Kilda's Trevor Barker.

CHASERS
Games with no finals Player Club(s)
181 Lynden Dunn Collingwood/Melbourne
153 Tom Rockliff Brisbane Lions
152 Jack Watts Melbourne
141 Pearce Hanley Gold Coast/Brisbane Lions
141 Colin Garland Melbourne
140 Jeremy Howe Collingwood/Melbourne
135 Stefan Martin Brisbane Lions
135 Matthew Leuenberger Essendon/Brisbane Lions
125 Tom McDonald Melbourne
121 Dayne Zorko Brisbane Lions

Text: Sarah Black | Designs: Kahla Emonson | Stats: Cameron Sinclair

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