If it’s been said once, it’s been said 1000 times. Goals win games. The thing is though, to kick goals you need efficient and effective forwards who are ready to pounce on any opportunity.
In forward pair Nick Larkey and Cam Zurhaar, North Melbourne has exactly that. In the second half of the season, they’ve been amongst the AFL’s most lethal partnerships.
Much like the rest of this Roos’ side, comparing Larkey and Zurhaar’s form lines from before and after the bye is like comparing chalk and cheese. The chemistry and execution between the midfield and forward line is undoubtedly starting to click.
Since Round 12, the pair has combined for 47 goals, with ‘Souva’ kicking 26 of those in 10 games, leaving ‘The Bull’ to kick 21 goals in 9 games.
When comparing yourself to other teams, it only makes sense to compare yourself with the best, and those 47 goals as a pair exceeds the number of goals kicked by any pair of players currently playing in a top four side over the same timeframe.
Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron and their Geelong side currently sit second, with the pair combining for 39 goals in the Cats’ last 10 games.
Bayley Fritsch and Kysaiah Pickett of the first-placed Demons have 36 goals between them across 10 games, while Charlie Dixon and Mitch Georgiades of the third-placed Power have combined for 32.
The Western Bulldgos currently sit fourth, with Josh Bruce and Aaron kicking 26 goals between them since Round 12.
Larkey and Zurhaar even sit pretty looking outside the top four, kicking the equal most goals as a pair in the whole competition, tied with Joe Daniher and Charlie Cameron of Brisbane. However, the Kangaroos partnership have done it in one less game.
A realistic and unfortunate part of football is injuries, so goal totals is a somewhat unfair metric to use. For example, Jeremy Cameron has only played five games for Geelong in this post-bye period.
Looking at average goals per game, Cameron and Hawkins are kicking 2.6 majors between them, leapfrogging Larkey and Zurhaar in this metric.
The Kangaroo pair is not far behind them though, kicking 2.47 goals between them per contest, with Zurhaar missing the Round 20 clash against Geelong.
Fritsch and Pickett average 1.8, Dixon and Georgiades 1.6, and Bruce and Naughton 1.44.
In terms of individual goalkicking, Charlie Dixon has kicked 28 goals in 10 games since Round 12, followed by Larkey with 26 in 10.
Hawkins rounds out the podium with 25, with Zurhaar and Fritsch both with 21. North’s number 44 has played one less game than his Melbourne counterpart.
With North’s two main forward targets performing in the second half of the season, plus the recent additions of the impressive Eddie Ford and Charlie Comben to the forward line, the potential for North’s forward group moving into the future is seriously exciting.