Excitement is in the air as the first week of the Australian Football League kicks off this week.
There is much speculation around not only which teams will make it to the 2021 Grand Final, but also which players will receive the various accolades awarded by the League.
Fans are divided as to who will win the Coleman Medal in 2021.
One of the most glamorous awards in the AFL, the Coleman Medal honours the player who kicks the most goals in a home-and-away season. Named after AFL legend and spectacular Bomber full forward John Coleman, the medal was first awarded in 1955, the year after Coleman was forced into premature retirement by a major knee injury.
A strong contender, Hawkins made his AFL debut in 2007. He has since become a two-time AFL premiership player, a Coleman Medalist and an All-Australian full forward.
Hawkins is a Carji Greeves Medallist as the club’s best and fairest player. He is also a nine-time leading goalkicker for Geelong and a recipient of the former AFL Army Award. The AFL Army Award is awarded to the player who demonstrates significant acts of bravery or selflessness during a season.
Dixon, on the other hand, started his career after being recruited by the Gold Coast Football Club. He scored the first ever goal in the history of the club against Carlton in 2011. In the 2015 AFL Trade Period, Dixon was traded to Port Adelaide. He finished an impressive outright second in the Coleman Medal and earned his first All-Australian selection at the end of the 2020 AFL season.
Darren Herft thinks that there are two other contenders that may have a leg up this year. He says, “I have my eyes on Jeremey Cameron from Geelong and Joe Daniher of the Brisbane Lions.”
Cameron is a dual All-Australian and won the Kevin Sheedy Medal in 2013. He has played the most games and kicked the most goals for Greater Western Sydney, leading the club's goalkicking in all nine of his seasons at the club. With 67 goals in the 2019 home-and-away season, he earned the Coleman Medal.
Darren Herft says, “Cameron plays up forward alongside Tom Hawkins. With Tom getting a little bit older, I think that Cameron is his obvious replacement.”
Four-time Essendon leading goalkicker Joe Daniher played for the Club from 2013 to 2020. He won a Crichton Medal and received an All-Australian selection in 2017, as well as the 2017 AFL Mark of the Year and Anzac Medal for that season. Daniher moved to the Brisbane Lions after the 2020 season.
Darren Herft thinks that, “an injury-free Daniher would see him in the race.”
Herft is optimistic that 2021 will mark a new beginning for the AFL and perhaps one of the most even seasons yet.
“The game will return to the home of football being the Melbourne Cricket Ground later this year in late September or early October”, with many teams shaping as legitimate chances to make the decider.