There are some amazing all-time records unravelling in the current Hyundai A-League season with two strikers on freakish goalscoring sprees. But how do they compare to the greats, such as the V-Bomber and Mori? @AndyHowe_statto reveals all.
And fans are set for a treat when the record-approaching Bruno Fornaroli and Besart Berisha go head to head in the big Round 19 Melbourne derby at AAMI Park tomorrow night (Saturday).
Goalscoring rates over a season
Fornaroli’s 15 goals in 18 games so far for Melbourne City, and Berisha’s 14 from 17 for the Victory, are personal goalscoring rates on par with the all-time highest in an Australian national league season.
While a scoring rate of over 0.50 goals a game over a season is usually considered very good, the current scoring rate of around 0.83 goals per game for the two imports striker is quite exceptional.
Excluding players with less than ten appearances in a season, the all-time record scoring rate for a national league season is 1.00 goals per game, when Macedonian marvel Zlatko Nastevski banged in 11 goals in 11 games for Marconi in 1989/90.
Nastevski owned the previous NSL season when he took out the 1989 golden boot, player of the year, and scored in Marconi’s 1-0 grand final win over Sydney Olympic.
His goal splurge continued through the first half of 1989/90 until he tragically suffered a major knee injury while making his one and only appearance for the Socceroos, against Torpedo Moscow.
If we increase the minimum games threshold to 20, then Charlie Egan (South Melbourne 1985) and Mark Viduka (Melbourne Knights 1994/95) jointly hold the highest goals per game record for a season, both with 21 goals in 24 games or 0.88 goals per game.
After Round 18 this season Fornaroli’s goals per game rate stands at 0.83, and Berisha is virtually the same at 0.82. Both Bruno and Besart are well with sight of breaking records by season’s end.
Goalscoring rates over a career
So what about players’ scoring rates over their entire Australian national league career?
For players who played at least 20 career games, Mark Viduka’s national league record of 0.83 goals per game stands well above any other player.
Viduka scored 40 goals in 48 appearances for the Melbourne Knights between 1993 and 1995.
And if we consider players with 50 or more career games, then one name clearly surpasses all others: Besart Berisha.
As at Round 18 this season Berisha has scored 77 goals in 121 Australian national league games, a rate of 0.64 goals per game.
Albanian-born Berisha commenced his Australian career with Brisbane Roar in 2011 before joining the Victory in 2014. He was the A-League’s leading scorer in 2011/12, a season topped off by netting both goals in Brisbane’s 2-1 grand final triumph over Perth Glory.
The next best career goals per game ratio for players with 50 or more appearances is 0.54, achieved by David Seal (67 goals in 123 games) and Damian Mori (240 goals in 447 games).
Seal played for Sydney United, Marconi, Sydney Olympic and Northern Spirit from 1989 to 2000, while Mori was with Adelaide City, Perth Glory and a number of other clubs between 1989 and 2007.
Due to his sheer number of goals scored, Mori is the clear goalscoring king of Australian football. His 240 goals is more than 100 above the second-highest all-time scorer Rod Brown (137 career goals).
But with Berisha approaching a century of goals, his current scoring rate of 0.64 goals per game puts the Melbourne Victory marksman right up there with the best Australia has ever seen, in terms of career scoring rates.
Fastest first 20
Although much newer to the Australian scene, Bruno Fornaroli is tampering with another type of record thanks to his efficient scoring performance so far in 2015/16.
Fornaroli’s goalscoring rate to date is one of the highest for a player’s first Australian national league season.
The Uruguayan scored his first 15 goals in just 18 games, and is on track to scoring the fastest ever first 20 goals for a player.
The current record of scoring the fastest first 20 goals is held by (guess who) Mark Viduka, who reached his 20th goal in 25 national league games.
The next fastest first 20 was scored in 26 games, when enigmatic Scotsman Dixie Deans guested for Adelaide City in the late 1970s. Deans came to Australia after also scoring a bucketload of goals over a ten year period with Motherwell and Celtic.
The third-fastest first 20 goals was attained by Zeljko Adzic for Melbourne Knights in 1989–1990. Adzic, who has the distinction of playing for both the Australian and Croatian national teams, had a brief but brilliant NSL career for the Knights highlighted by winning the 1989/90 player of the year.
If Fornaroli can continue his goalscoring run in his debut Australian season, his feat will match the exploits of some great names in Australian national league history.
Bruno v Besart
So which striker will strike most gold in by the end of the 2015/16 season?
With 15 goals for City leading into Round 19 Fornaroli stands just one goal ahead of his Melbourne Victory counterpart Berisha.
Can Fornaroli’s first sensational scoring season continue at a higher rate? Or will Berisha’s A-League experience take him to the top of the scorers’ chart just like in his debut season four years ago.
There will be more than just a win to play for when Melbourne City clash with their bitter rivals in the big Round 19 derby on Saturday night.
Follow Andrew Howe’s Australian football stats updates on Twitter @AndyHowe_statto