Has Lance Franklin surpassed Wayne Carey as the greatest key forward of the modern era?

Has Lance Franklin surpassed Wayne Carey as the greatest key forward of the modern era?

  • Yes – already

  • Not yet – but he will

  • No – and he won't

  • Someone else is the best


Results are only viewable after voting.

Sweet Jesus

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Thread starter #1
Wayne Carey turned 30 early in his final season with North Melbourne. And that was basically his last season as an elite player. He sat out the 2002 season and then went to Adelaide, where he played 28 games over two season for a return of 56 goals.

Lance Franklin is now basically the same age as Carey was in that final season at North Melbourne, which was, as outlined, basically the final act in his career as a top-liner. Yet Franklin remains the No.1 forward in the league and could plausibly play another three seasons, let's say, at his current level.

With this in mind, is it now reasonable to ask whether Franklin will eclipse Carey as the No.1 key forward of the modern era? Or has he already gone past him?

In making the comparison, it's interesting to consider how these two players have shaped the role of the modern key forward. Franklin has basically elevated that hard-running CHF/FF hybrid position that Carey minted in the mid-90s with "Pagan's paddock", and which was further entrenched and innovated via Nick Riewoldt, who was probably the best repeat middle-distance runner we've seen play as a key forward. The role demands supreme athleticism and running power to present up the ground to the wing, while also being able to surge back toward goal to present a target inside forward 50. Sometimes people say there's no such thing as a "pure CHF" or a "pure FF" any more. Or that, at the very least, the role is disappearing. But I actually think it's more accurate to suggest the role has changed, with a greater emphasis on mobility and mileage. The best key forwards still play those roles – they just cover more ground now because they're superior athletes.

Anyway, that's more of a side point. But it's one I've reflected on in light of Riewoldt's retirement. In terms of his standing in the game, he's basically the missing link in the evolution from Carey to Franklin.

In the comparison between Carey and Franklin, it's fair to point out that Carey holds the edge in contested marking, long considered the hallmark of a great CHF. But on the flipside, Franklin's athleticism is unmatched and he is the more potent goal-kicker. Carey averaged 2.7 goals per game, while Franklin is currently going at 3.2 goals per game – despite playing in an era when key forwards kick fewer goals.

Assuming Franklin tops 60 goals in 2017, it will be the 10th season he's reached that mark. Carey, by comparison, topped 60 goals seven times over the course of his career. Now, people may point out that Franklin has spent more of his career closer to goal – but I'd argue that is partly a function of his superior athleticism. He certainly spends his fair share of time up the ground as well. The fact he's able to get up and back so effectively is part of what makes the case for him surpassing Carey.

And I think the last point in Franklin's favour, referenced in the opening paragraphs, is his longevity. At Franklin's age, Carey was basically finished. But Franklin could well produce another three seasons of his current standard. If we're sitting here in 2020 and 33-year-old Franklin is still one of the absolute top-liners, having played 300+ games for 1000+ goals, I think it'll be almost impossible to dispute his status as top dog. He might even be there already.
 

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PhatBoy

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#5
Here is why I'd rate Carey higher:

North are battling, consensus: just get it to Carey. Do this and they win.

Buddy's teams are battling, the same tactic, to me, has a lot less chance of success. Yes he makes things happen but nearly as dependably as Carey.

I know that's a very simplistic way to look at it but that's the easiest way I can explain my point of view.
 

Sweet Jesus

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Here is why I'd rate Carey higher:

North are battling, consensus: just get it to Carey. Do this and they win.

Buddy's teams are battling, the same tactic, to me, has a lot less chance of success. Yes he makes things happen but nearly as dependably as Carey.

I know that's a very simplistic way to look at it but that's the easiest way I can explain my point of view.
I think there's a tendency to underrate some of the players Carey played alongside and simply say it was all about Carey. Certainly, he was the central figure and the main man in the forwardline.

But John Longmire kicked 75 and 78 goals in 1993-94, and another 58 in 1995. And you had Corey McKernan as a ruck/forward who was basically the best player in the league in 1996. It's not insignificant back-up. You could argue Franklin actually has less support at the Swans. Sam Reid and Kurt Tippett?
 
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#11
Not sure if Buddy has even surpassed Tredrea and Brown. I am not saying he hasn't, but there isn't much between those three.
I think people forget just how dominant Tredrea was about 15 years ago.
You're fu***** kidding me?? Buddy has walked forwards and backwards over Brown & Tredrea. There isn't much between those 3? Are you kidding?

Lance Franklin is categorically the best CHF since Carey, and the best since he debuted in 2005. Brown was grossly overrated. If you want to look at traditional CHF, then you've got;

Carey
Franklin
Riewoldt
Tredrea
Richardson
Pavlich
Brown

You'd also have Barry Hall in there under Riewoldt if you call him a CHF. Matthew Richardson was also better than Brown.
 
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Roddy

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#13
Best since Carey, no question, but Carey was next level in his day. It'll take something very special to surpass him.

Dragged an average football side to 3 GFs and 2 flags on his own shoulders. Take him out and North don't get anywhere near those flags.

By way of comparison, Buddy leaves us and we win the next 2 flags without him.

Says a lot.
 

Sweet Jesus

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Thread starter #14
Best since Carey, no question, but Carey was next level in his day. It'll take something very special to surpass him..
Specifically, what do you make of Franklin's greater longevity and greater potency as a goal-kicker – in an era when key forwards kick fewer goals?

That's not insignificant.

Dragged an average football side to 3 GFs and 2 flags on his own shoulders. Take him out and North don't get anywhere near those flags.
I don't think North were average. Corey McKernan was basically the best player in the league in 1996.
 

port_adelaide_1870

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#15
You're fu***** kidding me?? Buddy has walked forwards and backwards over Brown & Tredrea. There isn't much between those 3? Are you kidding?

Lance Franklin is categorically the best CHF since Carey, and the best since he debuted in 2005. Brown was grossly overrated. If you want to look at traditional CHF, then you've got;

Carey
Franklin
Riewoldt
Tredrea
Brown

You'd also have Barry Hall in there under Riewoldt if you call him a CHF.
Tredrea was better then Riewoldt
 

HairyO

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#16
You're fu***** kidding me?? Buddy has walked forwards and backwards over Brown & Tredrea. There isn't much between those 3? Are you kidding?

Lance Franklin is categorically the best CHF since Carey, and the best since he debuted in 2005. Brown was grossly overrated. If you want to look at traditional CHF, then you've got;

Carey
Franklin
Riewoldt
Tredrea
Brown

You'd also have Barry Hall in there under Riewoldt if you call him a CHF.
Carey
Franklin
Riewoldt
Hall
Tredrea
Brown

Looks like a pretty solid list to me. Thing is, you also need to include Pav somewhere.
 

Heaps of fun

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#18
Specifically, what do you make of Franklin's greater longevity and greater potency as a goal-kicker – in an era when key forwards kick fewer goals?

That's not insignificant.

I don't think North were average. Corey McKernan was basically the best player in the league in 1996.
The North sides weren't average. Carey was just that good he made great players look like journeymen.
 

Roddy

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#21
Specifically, what do you make of Franklin's greater longevity and greater potency as a goal-kicker – in an era when key forwards kick fewer goals?

That's not insignificant.

I don't think North were average. Corey McKernan was basically the best player in the league in 1996.
I can sum it up in one sentence: I've never seen a more dominant footballer, or one with greater presence, than Carey.
 

Sweet Jesus

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Thread starter #22
The North sides weren't average. Carey was just that good he made great players look like journeymen.
Again, McKernan was basically the best player in the comp in 1996. He won the AFLPA MVP and polled the most votes in the Brownlow.

Are we just pretending this wasn't the case?
 

Sweet Jesus

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Thread starter #23
I can sum it up in one sentence: I've never seen a more dominant footballer, or one with greater presence, than Carey.
But it takes more than one sentence to address the question intelligently.

And your reply doesn't address Franklin's greater longevity or his greater potency as a goal-kicker.

You might still think Carey is the greater player – that's hardly controversial. But at least address the arguments against that position. Because they're not baseless.
 

Sweet Jesus

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Thread starter #25
Ablett was a better key forward than both Carey and Franklin.
Well, I think what makes Ablett great is that he basically only became a key forward in his 30s. Having been a wingman/HFF for most of his career, he then transitioned into being a dominant FF. So his adaptability is unmatched but if you're talking about career key forwards, then Ablett probably doesn't fit into that category.
 
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