Football 3 years ago

First to 100: Smeltz, Thompson or Berisha?

  • First to 100: Smeltz, Thompson or Berisha?

In the A-League we are yet to see a player score 100 goals. While players like Ronaldo or Messi may smash that in just a few seasons, the A-League is still a young league and there has been few long term, consistent scoring forwards.

Next season, though, the century could finally be reached. It may even happen twice.

With 89 goals to his name Archie Thompson, 36-years-old, looks likely to be the first A-League player to record the achievement, assuming his club situation is sorted out.

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Closely following is Shane Smeltz, 33-years-old, with 85, and he will surely reach the milestone sooner or later, having secured his future at Sydney for another two seasons.

Both would be well deserved achievements, as their contributions to the A-League are undeniable, but who will be next?

It may be too soon to ask the question, but our young stars are still heading overseas early on and with the lure of Asia pulling others away, not many local players fit the criteria.

Of the top ten all-time A-League goal scorers, the only other Australians currently playing in the league, aside from Thompson and Smeltz, are Mark Bridge and Alex Brosque. Bridge is 29-years-old and has scored 49 goals, while Brosque is 31-years-old and has 47 goals.

Both are unlikely to reach 100 goals, their age the main issue. It is not out of the question, but would be a long shot.

Travelling down the list of goal scorers there are few young talents here who look likely to threaten 50 goals in the A-League, let alone 100. Bernie Ibini-Isei is the best bet, with 26 goals, while Kosta Barbarouses has 21, but aside from one 11-goal season he is not a regular goal scorer.

It is also likely Ibini-Isei will head overseas, as have other potential top scorers such as Adam Taggart or Robbie Kruse in the past, and would have to return later in his career to make the mark.

In terms of imports the most likely is Besart Berisha, who arrived in his prime and has thrived down under.

With 63 goals, the 29-year-old could reach 100 if he sticks around for another few seasons. He scores every 1.7 games, meaning it could take him 46 games at that rate to notch his century.

In comparison, Thompson is scoring at a rate of a goal every 2.4 games, and Smeltz 1.8, which means each will need close to a full season at that rate to make 100.

A close battle should be in the future, then, as some of our best forwards face off, with all three possible of making the mark first, even Berisha if he decides to go on a goal scoring rampage.

Whoever reaches it first, it will be a massive moment for them and the A-League. If it does happen next season, or the one after, it will surely be a once-in-a-generation moment, made better by three players possibly reaching 100 within a close period of time.

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