WITH just five goals to go, Lance Franklin is on track for 1000 career majors.
When the Sydney superstar ultimately reaches the milestone – be it this week against Greater Western Sydney or in the games to come – he will become just the sixth player to enjoy the landmark moment and further etch his name into the game's record books.
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Ahead of the memorable occasion, AFL.com.au profiles the legends and the history makers that have come before Franklin and details each of their remarkable journeys to 1000 AFL/VFL goals.
1360 – TONY LOCKETT
The man dubbed 'Plugger' is widely known as being the greatest goalkicker in the game's rich history. Lockett kicked 1360 goals during a career that spanned 12 years at St Kilda and another six at Sydney. He enjoyed six 100-goal campaigns, a joint-AFL/VFL record, which included the 1987 season where he was also rewarded with the Brownlow and Coleman Medals.
A five-time All-Australian and a four-time leading goalkicker in the League, Lockett is also a Team of the Century member for both the Saints and the Swans, and an Australian Football Hall of Fame Legend. Lockett kicked 10 goals in 22 different games, with his haul of 16 majors against Fitzroy in 1995 the most memorable of his series of incredible individual displays. That game helped propel Lockett to his 1000th goal, which arrived against Fremantle just a few weeks later, while he broke Gordon Coventry's all-time goals record and became the first player to 1300 majors with one memorable shot against Collingwood in 1999.
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Even still, Lockett might be best remembered for a point – delivered after the siren to help Sydney into the 1996 Grand Final. Lockett's remarkable record of 4.84 goals per game will mean his final tally of 1360 majors will be hard for anyone to ever top.
1299 – GORDON COVENTRY
The Collingwood champion of the 1920s and '30s has a number of firsts to his name. Coventry was the first player to reach 1000 VFL goals and the first player to reach 300 VFL games, setting the bar for some of the game's greats who were still to come.
Coventry was Collingwood's leading goalkicker in 16 of his 18 seasons at the club, topping the list for the Pies in each of his five premiership campaigns in 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930 and 1935. He reached 100 goals in four different seasons. Coventry's 17 goals against Fitzroy in the side's 1930 campaign was his career high point and was among the many reasons he holds Australian Football Hall of Fame Legend status, as well as a place occupying full-forward in Collingwood's Team of the Century.
However, it was his nine-goal performance in the 1929 Grand Final against Richmond that ranks as arguably his greatest individual display. Unfortunately, his 72-goal campaign in his final season in 1937 wasn't enough for him to reach the 1300-goal barrier achieved only by Lockett.
1254 – JASON DUNSTALL
Dunstall burst onto the scene in an era of elite goalkickers in the 1980s and '90s and quickly became one of the very best. Entrenched in a Hawthorn side that won four premierships in six years between 1986-91, Dunstall enjoyed six 100-goal campaigns to tie the AFL/VFL record with Lockett. The best of those came in 1992, when Dunstall booted 145 goals and 84 behinds to claim one of three Coleman Medals throughout his career, one of seven All-Australian appearances and one of four Hawthorn best and fairests. Amid that season came a 17-goal game against Richmond and 12-goal outings against Geelong, Essendon and Richmond.
Born in Brisbane, Dunstall coincidentally reached the 1000-goal milestone at the Gabba in the penultimate game of the 1994 season as Hawthorn overcame the Brisbane Bears. Dunstall's ability to perform on the game's biggest stages puts him alongside the very best high-pressure players in AFL/VFL history, if not the very best. He kicked six goals against Carlton in the 1986 Grand Final, seven against Melbourne in 1988, four against Geelong in 1989 and six more against West Coast in 1991. Each of those displays helped spearhead the Hawks to premiership success.
1057 – DOUG WADE
Wade burst onto the scene with nine goals in his first two games with Geelong in 1961, sparking a career that would see him become the first player after the Second World War to reach the 1000-goal landmark. Although an ever-reliable goalkicker throughout the 1960s, it took Wade until his ninth season to eventually boot 100 goals in a single campaign. That milestone arrived in perhaps his best-ever season, one where he slotted 127 majors to win one of four Coleman Medals and claim the Carji Greeves Medal as Geelong's best and fairest.
A two-time premiership player, Wade claimed one each at the Cats and the Kangaroos and perhaps enjoyed his best years throughout the latter stages of his career. After kicking 90-plus goals in only one of his first eight years in the League, Wade exceeded that total in four of his final seven campaigns. He went past 1000 goals in 1974, a year where he booted 103 majors and won his final Coleman Medal. Wade hit 10 goals in four individual games, enjoying 13-goal hauls against South Melbourne in 1967 and then again against North Melbourne in 1971. Performances like that saw Wade deservedly named in the club's Team of the Century.
1031 – GARY ABLETT SNR
The man known simply as 'God' played one season and six games for Hawthorn at the start of his career, but it was Geelong where he made his name. Ablett was the most recent AFL/VFL footballer to reach the magical 1000-goal barrier, doing so in 1996. That was Ablett's final season in football and came about after his three best years. Between 1993-95, he was nearly impossible to stop. He kicked 375 goals in three years, claimed three straight Coleman Medals and booted at least 120 goals in each season. His play propelled the Cats to the 1995 Grand Final, Ablett himself to the 1000-goal mark and became a crucial factor in him eventually being crowned Geelong's Greatest Ever Player.
Renowned for his mercurial ability in the air, he quickly became one of the club's most-loved players. He kicked 14 goals in three individual games, doing so against Richmond in 1989 and then again against Essendon in 1993 and Sydney in 1994. Perhaps the only thing that eluded Ablett was a long-awaited premiership, although he did his best to drag Geelong over the line against Hawthorn in 1989. Ablett kicked nine goals in that Grand Final, despite the Cats going down by just six points in a thriller, becoming one of just four players – alongside Maurice Rioli, Nathan Buckley and Chris Judd – to win the Norm Smith Medal in a losing side.
Ablett kicked his 1000th goal against Fremantle at Kardinia Park in 1996, sparking an outpouring of emotion as fans flooded the ground. It was the last time such a record occurred. However, soon, Lance Franklin will join these greats and write his name in the record books once again.