CAM RAYNER entered the AFL with comparisons to Richmond superstar Dustin Martin. He played in a similar fashion, had some swagger, enjoyed a fend-off and even had the Dusty haircut. Plus, who didn't want to be Martin in 2017?

But as the Brisbane Lions' No.1 pick approaches the midway point of his third AFL season, Rayner's playing style is beginning to mirror that of another one of the competition's stars, Collingwood goalkicker Jordan De Goey.

11:51 Mins
Published on

The Data Game: A contender with 'freakish defence', Tigers find new inside mid

Neroli Meadows and Champion Data's Daniel Hoyne preview round eight

Published on

Rayner's two-goal effort last week against Greater Western Sydney was crucial in the Lions' win away from home. His final goal, which trickled along the boundary line and skipped through to seal the win, followed his flying, contested mark and goal in the third term that halted the Giants' momentum.

ROUNDS 8-12 Check out the full fixture

Rayner, who continues to play as a leading, marking forward option with stints in the midfield, has kicked two goals in the Lions' past three games, and forward coach Jed Adcock said his improvement has been clear.

00:59 Mins
Published on

Sensational goal gives Brisbane breathing room

The kick had to be perfect for Cam Rayner to nail it, and it was

Published on

"I think he's been really consistent. As a forward line we don't necessarily play a game style where we want our forwards to go and have 25 touches each," Adcock told AFL.com.au.

"It's not the way we play the game. What I think he's been able to do this year, where probably he was down a little bit last year, is he's just been able to finish his plays, whether it is being clean at ground level or getting up and finishing a mark or going back and kicking his goals.

"You look at those three areas alone and you see him fumble less, drop less marks and kick less points. You put that into a whole package in one game, and he's having so much more impact on a game when he might be having the same amount of touches."

Rayner hasn't missed a game for the Lions since arriving at the club, having played 53 consecutive matches since the start of 2018.

THE LADDER Where is your team sitting?

He booted 20 goals in each of his first two seasons and has kicked seven from seven games this year, with continued bursts through the midfield and centre square.

05:38 Mins
Published on

Contract freeze off: Heat on GWS gun, who's next to sign?

With the player contract freeze lifted, Mitch Cleary and Cal Twomey discuss all the big name priority re-signings

Published on

By following the De Goey prototype, Rayner is elevating his game through impact, not necessarily in high disposals.

"Cam's role as a forward is bringing energy so pressure, tackle when the ball hits the ground. If it's your ball to mark then go and mark it, and be clean at ground level. And obviously if you get your opportunities then to finish off," Adcock said.

Comparing Rayner's first 53 games to De Goey's, the Collingwood star averaged more disposals but also spent nearly double Rayner's time in the midfield.

After 53 Games

AFL Player Ratings

Disposals (average)

Marks

Score Inv.

Goals

Midfield %

Forward %

Cam Rayner

6.9

11.4

2.9

4.3

0.9

22%

78%

Jordan De Goey

9.4

17.0

3.3

5.1

0.7

40%

58%

 

Rayner has booted 47 goals to De Goey's 39 in the same period, but it is also worth noting that De Goey was into his fourth year in the AFL by the time he reached his 53rd game, while Rayner did it last weekend in his third season.

By his fourth, De Goey was a legitimate match-winner, booting 48 goals from 21 games in 2018, including three goals in Collingwood's Grand Final loss to West Coast.

Rayner's disposal average this season is better than his career disposal average, despite the shorter games, but the statistics have never concerned the Lions.

"We will never as a footy club, forward line or coaching group judge players on touches or goals. It's something that we don't talk about and we steer away from, but we love the fact we have eight or nine goalkickers every week," Adcock said.

"We don't rely on Charlie [Cameron], we don't rely on the talls, we don't rely on Cam. It's really important part to our game that you want to have different avenues to goal, and in the last couple of years we've been able to do that."

Debate over where Collingwood is better served playing De Goey continues to rage, with Magpies coach Nathan Buckley recently describing the 24-year-old as a "frustrated midfielder".

It is a discussion that will likely envelop Rayner, too, as the Lions lean more on his power and explosiveness around the ball in coming seasons without losing his touch inside 50.