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‘Tall magnets’: Who are the top 10 best key forwards for season 2024?

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best tall forwards, afl

They’re the rockstars of AFL teams that command the most attention from opposition teams.

They’re expected to be clinical in front of goal, have glue-like hands and hops that’d get NBA scouts sitting up straighter — it’s nothing short of a tough gig.

That’s why the best tall forwards are some of the highest paid players in the competition, because without a great one on your team, you’re probably not going too far.

The debate surrounding the best tall forwards is set to reach new heights throughout the 2024 season, after the legendary Lance Franklin decided to hang up the boots, following an incredible 18-year career.

With the throne now up for grabs, the best tall forwards in the AFL will jostling to become the ‘new king’.

Whatever top 10 we settle on, we’re aware debate will rage on in group chats. But please acknowledge we’re determined to build a more balanced and logical list than what you’ll find on other click-hungry publications.

best tall forwards, afl
Curnow or Cameron? Who’s the best key forward in footy?

The 10 best tall forwards in the AFL for season 2024

So here’s out top 10 for key forwards currently in the AFL, as we enter the 2024 season.

Note that we’ve considered 2023 form generously, along with what we know they’re capable of, based on previous output and the occasional expected decline.

ALSO READ OUR OTHER POSITIONAL TOP 10s: SMALL FORWARDS, KEY FORWARDS, MIDS, RUCKMEN, GENERAL DEFENDERS

1. Charlie Curnow

Crowned the 2023 Coleman Medalist (leading goal scorer), Curnow’s rise to be the best tall forward in the AFL has coincided with Carlton breaking their nine-year finals drought and making their first preliminary finals appearance since 2000.

Curnow ranked first amongst the best tall forwards in goals scored, marks and score involvements, while being third in average disposals.

The thrown seems destined to be his for quite some time considering he is only 27-years-old.

2. Joe Daniher

Every time Joe Daniher takes the field you can feel his presence through his unbelievable leaping ability and immense goal scoring capabilities.

Having kicked 61 goals, taken 154 marks and averaged 15 disposals a game on route to his first grand final appearance last season, there’s no denying Daniher is a super star amongst stars at the Brisbane Lions.

3. Jeremy Cameron

At the start of the 2023 season there were comments by people within the AFL community who thought Jeremy Cameron was the not only one of the best tall forwards in the league, but one of the best players.

Bagging over 3 goals in seven of the first eight games of the year, Cameron continued on from his premiership winning season in 2022 and you can expect that as he enters his 30’s, he’ll only get smarter at how he plays.

WATCH CAMERON’S 7-GOAL EFFORT FROM ROUND 22

jeremy cameron, geelong, best tall forwards, afl
Geelong star Jeremy Cameron is undeniably one of the best forwards in the AFL.

4. Taylor Walker

When it seemed like Tex Walker was going to slowly slip away for the remainder of his career, the mighty Adelaide tall forward has had a resurge, finishing runner up in the 2023 Coleman Medal.

His ability to hit the scoreboard, both through scoring goals and setting them up, is a special part of his game that he’ll need to carry through 2024 if the Crows are to continue flying.

5. Tom Hawkins

Arguably one of the best tall forwards of all-time has signed on for one more year at the Cattery, and AFL couldn’t be happier to see him continue on.

Although Hawkins isn’t the same player he once was, the fact that at the age of 35 he’s able to impact games the way that players in their primes aren’t able to is worth keeping him in the top 5 best tall forwards list.

In 2023 alone, Hawkins kicked 49 goals (8th amongst tall forwards) and also top ten in score involvements.

6. Tom Lynch

You can make an argument that since Tom Lynch has been injured he might not deserve to be this high up. But with our expectations, based off what we’ve seen him produce alongside Jack Riewoldt, who’s no longer there, Lynch is in for one huge season.

We’re talking about a guy who’s averaged over two goals a game for 60% of his career, and now is the focal-point of a forward line that will see plenty of the ball due to Richmond’s elite midfield.

7. Jesse Hogan

For the fourth time in his ten year career, GWS Giants tall forward Jesse Hogan averaged over 2 goals a game and lead a side no one thought to a preliminary final.

Hogan ranked in the top ten amongst the best tall forwards in goals scored (49), marks (141), tackles (40) and average disposals (13.1) — an incredible season.

8. Aaron Naughton

The Western Bulldogs see plenty of potential in the 23-year-old tall forward who has continued his great scoring averages, signing him to a monster eight-year contract extension.

Naughton is coming off the back of a third consecutive season averaging around two goals a game, along with being the top best tall forward in total tackles.

9. Harry McKay

It was tough for a majority of the 2023 season for the former Coleman Medalist, dropping down his goal scoring averages by half a goal due to his terrible accuracy — 48% down to 37.7%.

However there’s no denying that one poor season shouldn’t kick McKay out of the top ten best tall forwards. His marking ability is ranked third amongst his position, including being in the top ten for tackles and disposals.

10. Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

The Western Bulldogs’ young gun tall forward has become a revelation in the league, with his presence inside 50, incredible marking ability and score involvements.

Teams will be circling him in the upcoming off-season, as Ugle-Hagan is expected to really state himself as a premiere forward in the competition — who will be on of the best tall forwards in just matter of years.

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