Gary Rohan has the best goalkicking accuracy in the AFL this year. Picture: AAP Image/David Crosling.
Gary Rohan has the best goalkicking accuracy in the AFL this year. Picture: AAP Image/David Crosling.

AFL great takes shot at sloppy kickers

BLAME the goalkicking, not the rules.

A plunge in goalkicking accuracy is at the heart of the league's scoring crisis.

The average score after six rounds of the season is 81.5 and the average winning score is 95.7 - the lowest set of numbers since 1967.

While the AFL's radical raft of rule changes has failed to produce a scoring lift, teams are generating the same number of shots at goal as last year.

The glaring problem is that they're not going through, with former Hawthorn great Jason Dunstall saying the death of the stay-at-home full-forward was a factor in the sloppy finishing.

In fact, set shot accuracy is the lowest it has been since Champion Data started taking records in 1999.

Only one team - West Coast - has a goal-per-shot percentage higher than 50 per cent (54.7) when factoring in shots that miss altogether.

Geelong's top-of-the-table form is fuelled by the league's second-best conversion rate and the best set-shot player in the game - recruit Gary Rohan.

The Western Bulldogs' struggles with conversion remain as relevant as ever, with the Dogs only kicking a goal from 37.7 per cent of total attempts - ranked 18th.

Jack Gunston’s usually trusty goalkicking has been an issue this year. Picture: Michael Klein.
Jack Gunston’s usually trusty goalkicking has been an issue this year. Picture: Michael Klein.

Dunstall, who has kicked the third-most goals in VFL/AFL history with 1254 majors, said the evolution of the game meant everyone was having a ping.

"A lot more players, different players, are having shots for goal now that normally wouldn't have in years gone by," Dunstall said.

"Everyone is actually capable, at some stage, of finding themselves lining up for a set shot rather than just your traditional forwards who spent hours and hours practising and harnessing their routine."

Dunstall said he couldn't come to grips with the rise of the snap attempt.

"I get incredibly frustrated watching it, especially when you see them kicking around the corner from a 45 degree angle or even closer to being directly in front.

"Why do it on one side (of the goals) if you're not going to do it on the other? Don't you want to have the confidence in your drop punts rather than just kicking around the corner on your natural foot? I don't get it.

"We all kick around the corner from tight angles, I've got no problem with that at all.

"And I've got no problem with the dribble kick from a tight angle as well, but too many times the drop punt is ignored and for some reason they don't feel as bad about missing around the corner as they do about a drop punt.

"We just want to see nice drop punts kicked for goal."

News Corp Australia


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