Who is Collingwood’s most valuable forward?

Collingwood’s forward line has presented a challenge for opposing teams over the last couple of years, with several goal kicking options.

Although many players have had an impact on the scoreboard, Jordan de Goey is still Collingwood’s most valuable forward.

While De Goey has had a slow start to 2020, his previous two seasons demonstrate why he is Collingwood’s best forward.

During the 2018 and 2019 seasons De Goey on average kicked more than two goals a game. In 2018 he was Collingwood’s leading goalkicker (48 goals) and kicked six more goals than his closest teammate despite playing five fewer games.

After Round 6 of 2019 De Goey was third in the Coleman Medal and by the end of the season had kicked 34 goals in 17 games after missing a few games due to a hamstring problem. This made him Collingwood’s second-highest goal scorer behind Brody Mihocek, who kicked 36 goals in 24 games.

During the 2019 season De Goey also averaged more score involvements and inside 50s than any other Collingwood forward. Jamie Elliott and Jaidyn Stephenson were the only other Collingwood forwards to average more goal assists per game compared to De Goey.

Jordan De Goey

Jordan De Goey (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

In 2020 De Goey has kicked two goals in four matches with two goal assists and 18 score involvements.

While these numbers are down on previous years, the fifth pick of the 2014 draft is averaging more clearances per game than he did last year.
In 2020 De Goey is averaging 14.3 disposals and three clearances a game. In 2019 he averaged 16.8 disposals and 1.9 clearances a game.

Champion Data analyst Daniel Hoyne told SEN Breakfast earlier this year that Collingwood win a centre clearance 46 per cent of the time when De Goey attends a centre bounce.

De Goey’s clearance-winning ability provides a conundrum for the Pies, who need to find the right balance of how much time their best forward spends in the midfield.

While some other Collingwood forwards have been prominent goalkickers, they have not been able to impact games to the level that De Goey does.

Over the 2018 and 2019 seasons De Goey averaged the most goals per game for a Collingwood forward.

Brody Mihocek was Collingwood’s leading goalkicker in 2019, but on average he kicked only 1.5 goals a game, less than De Goey (2), Jaidyn Stephenson (1.7) and Jamie Elliot (1.6).

Mihocek is also Collingwood’s leading goalkicker so far in 2020 (7 goals) but has been criticised for going missing in big games, such as last year’s preliminary final against GWS when he had just two touches and did not score.

Stephenson and Elliot took more marks inside 50 last year than De Goey but were not able to kick as many goals.

Both players have also had a better start to 2020, kicking more goals in comparison to De Goey. Stephenson has four goals in two games and Elliott has three goals in four games. However, they are both averaging fewer disposals and inside 50s then De Goey.

Mason Cox has not been able to repeat the high of his 2018 preliminary final performance where he kicked three goals and took 11 marks. In 2019 he kicked 15 fewer goals than De Goey and averaged 1.4 goals a game. In 2020 Cox has kicked three goals in two games.

Will Hoskin-Elliott and Josh Thomas were both prolific in Collingwood’s 2018 season, kicking 42 and 38 goals respectively. In 2019 they averaged a goal a game each, which is half of what De Goey did. In 2020 Hoskin-Elliott has kicked one goal and Thomas has not scored.

It will be interesting to see how Collingwood’s forwards respond against Essendon at the MCG on Friday night following last week’s loss to the Giants, which featured Collingwood’s forwards missing a number of set shots on goal.

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