Brisbane Lions FC
Born: 16 July 1982
Junior Club: Sandgate
Senior Club: Northern Eagles / Cairns Saints
Schools: Nudgee College
Regional Selection: Northern Raiders
Queensland Selection: U18 (2000)
Draft Details: Queensland Zone Selection 2000 National Draft
AFL Debut: Brisbane Lions v Fremantle, Gabba, Round 5, 2001 (29 April)
Jumper Number: 19
AT A GLANCE: A 2003 Brisbane Lions premiership ruckman who has turned out to be the best second-prize in the club’s history. Why? Because he was snapped up by the Lions via a Queensland zone priority recruiting concession that had been earmarked for St.Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt until the qualification rules were changed and Riewoldt, living on the Gold Coast at the time and later to go No.1 in the 2000 National Draft, was classified as being outside the 50km radius. So instead the Lions took Brisbane-based Charman. It wasn’t as if he was not a quality player. He’d been an All-Australian U18 teammate of Riewoldt in 2000 and was a fine prospect. Had Riewoldt not been so good Charman would have been a luxury-plus pick-up in return for the Lions’ second-round draft pick (No. 29 overall) the club had to surrender to sign him.
Indeed, he still proved to be a value-plus acquisition through a stellar career, and a dream come true a young boy who had aspired to play for the club after representing the Brisbane Bears in a Little League game at halftime of an AFL game against Adelaide at Carrara. Born in Maryborough on Queensland’s Capricornia coast, he moved to Brisbane aged six, and played junior football at Sandgate. In ’99 he finished his education at the rugby stronghold of Nudgee College, which also counts Jason Akermanis among its’ old boys, was a member of the Northern Raiders’ U18 premiership side, and made his AFLQ debut with the Northern Eagles as a 16-year-old. He spent the first six months of 2000 studying primary teaching in Cairns, playing with Cairns Saints and representing North Queensland, and commuted to Brisbane to fulfil training obligations with the Queensland U18 side prior to the national championships in Melbourne.
There, he was runner-up to Michael Davis in the Maroons’ B&F award, and, with Davis, later drafted by Essendon, and Riewoldt he won All-Australian honors. He returned to Brisbane after the carnival and played the last five games of the season with the Eagles in the AFLQ competition, including the grand final. Also a State level swimmer at school, he was always going to follow his football dream, and made his AFL debut in Round 5 of his first season. It was a day to remember. His enthusiasm and aggression got the better of him, and he gave away a string of free-kicks to earn the wrath of coach Leigh Matthews. But, while he played only two senior games in his debut season, he played brilliantly through the QAFL finals as a marking forward and shaped as a key member of the club’s Reserves side that faced Southport in the 2001 QAFL State League grand final. Sadly, he copped a hit in the eye 12 minutes into the decider and spent the remainder of the day in hospital before returning in time to receive his premiership medal in 'civvies' after the Lions' sensational come-from-behind win under coach Craig Brittain.
There was always plenty to like about the way he went about his football, and by 2002 he was an important part of the club’s senior list, playing 20 senior games, including the qualifying final, and winning the Round 21 nomination for the AFL Rising Star Award. But with Clark Keating finding top form after returning from injury late in the season, Charman was an emergency for the preliminary final and grand final after the selectors preferred the more senior ruck pair of Keating and Beau McDonald. It was little compensation for the hard luck story of the year, but he won the club’s Best First-Year Player Award, judged on AFL Rising Star criteria. He left nothing to chance in 2003 – he played all 26 games, including four finals, to collect the AFL premiership medallion he missed out on 12 months earlier, and was 10th in the B&F.
The big, aggressive ruckman was in line for a second flag and the Lions a possible fourth in 2004 as he established himself as the club’s No.1 ruckman. But a season-ending knee injury in Round 17 took a heavy toll as the Lions were eventually beaten by Port in grand final. Prepared to trade the occasional injury for his ever-competitive and aggressive approach, he played only nine games in ’05 due largely to a broken leg, but followed with 16 games in 2005 and 17 games in ’06, when he finished a career-best 6th in the B&F despite a season-ending shoulder dislocation in Round 17. Played 17 games in ’07, including his 100th game, before knocking back approaches from several Melbourne-based clubs to re-commit to the Lions, but carried injury through a 21-game 2008 season and was offered as trade bait ahead of the 2008 National Draft as the Lions targeted Adelaide Crows’ Gold Coaster Kurt Tippett. No deal was done and Charman stayed at the Gabba, only to suffer a season-ending ankle injury in Round 4. Had a massive pre-season ahead of his 10th AFL campaign in 2010. Has a single-game goal-kicking best of three against Sydney in ’06, Carlton in ’07 and West Coast in ’08.