When will Lance Franklin kick his 1,000th AFL goal?

Just five players in VFL/AFL history have reached the 1,000 goal mark and Sydney superstar Lance Franklin, who currently sits on 981 majors, is closing in on the illustrious group. The question is; when will he get there?

With the help of Champion Data, we're attempting to predict when Buddy might reach the milestone (and if it will be in season 2021).

In order to do this, we're taking into account how he has performed across his career against each of the five teams he faces in the run home, as well as his efforts in the past three games against these teams. The other factor we are considering in this calculation is the venue. The average of these three figures will determine how many goals we think he will kick in each game.

So, does he get there this year or will we have to wait until 2022? Let's find out!

Round 19: Sydney vs. Fremantle @ Metricon Stadium

Career average vs. Dockers: 2.61
Three game average vs. Dockers: 4.33
Venue career average: 2.75

Franklin booted six goals against the Dockers in a loss earlier this year and with Fremantle's depleted defence, Buddy could very well be set for another bag. He played at Metricon Stadium in Round 18, so should be familiar with the ground and conditions.

Goals expected vs. Dockers: 3.23
Career tally after Round 19: 984.23

Round 20: Sydney vs. Essendon @ Marvel Stadium

Career average vs. Bombers: 4.29
Three game average vs. Bombers: 3.00
Venue career average: 3.30

Ask any Bombers fan and they will tell you they are terrified of Buddy, who has been giving them nightmares for years. Franklin averages more goals against Essendon than any other side, and will fancy his chances of another strong outing when he lines up against them for the 18th time in his career.

Goals expected vs. Bombers: 3.53
Career tally after Round 20: 987.76

Round 21: Sydney vs. St Kilda @ Marvel Stadium

Career average vs. Saints: 3.33
Three game average vs. Saints: 3.33
Venue career average: 3.30

The numbers don't lie. Buddy has consistently bagged goals against the Saints, and with 10 from his past three games, has strong recent form. He has kicked three plus goals in five of the last six outings against St Kilda.

Goals expected vs. Saints: 3.32
Career tally after Round 21: 991.08

Round 22: Sydney vs. North Melbourne @ Marvel Stadium

Career average vs. Roos: 3.25
Three game average vs. Roos: 1.33
Venue career average: 3.30

Thirteen! THIRTEEEEN!! Another Buddy masterclass against the Roos would see him over the line in Round 22, but David Noble's defence looks far more settled since Josh Bruce kicked 10 against them earlier in the year. Also, Franklin hasn't slotted more than three against the Kangas since 2015.

Goals expected vs. Roos: 2.63
Career tally after Round 22: 993.71

Round 23: Sydney vs. Gold Coast @ SCG

Career average vs. Suns: 2.38
Three game average vs. Suns: 1.33
Venue career average: 3.45

Just like the Kangaroos, Franklin doesn't have a great recent record against the lowly Suns, which is a little surprising. He's only kicked 19 goals against Gold Coast, the fewest of any side (Hawks and Swans included!)

Goals expected vs. Suns: 2.39
Career tally after Round 23: 996.10

Elimination final: Sydney vs. West Coast @ SCG***

Career average vs. Eagles: 2.95
Three game average vs. Eagles: 3.33
Venue career average: 3.45

Given the Swans are looking likely to secure a finals berth, Franklin will have at least one more opportunity to reach the landmark 1,000 goal figure in 2021. As of right now, the Swans would face the Eagles, a side he has kicked 10 goals against from his last three games. This fixture and venue is all subject to change with each passing week...

Goals expected vs. Eagles: 3.24
Career tally after week one of finals: 999.34

Assuming Buddy plays all of the remaining home and away games, and the Swans are able to win a final, Franklin will likely go into week two of the finals needing just one goal to bring up the 1,000.

The closer he gets to the milestone, the more his teammates will start looking for him. We're backing him to get it done this year in the elimination final.

Make sure to check back after each Swans game to see if he's still on track!