Possessions are definitely not everything when it comes to assessing the contribution of a player to his team’s performance.
But generally speaking you can never have too many of them. And certainly not if you are Brisbane Lions captain Dayne Beams.
On Sunday in Perth Beams had a career-best 41 possessions in his team’s loss to West Coast.
It surpassed his previous best of 40 against Adelaide in Round 9 this season.
More significantly, and quite sensationally, it was the 50th time in his AFL career that the prolific former Collingwood premiership midfielder has had 30 or more possessions in a game.
And although the changing nature of the game makes it impossible to reasonably compare possession numbers from era to era, it is no mean feat to have more than twice as many 30-possession games as Queensland’s best ever midfielder and Lions triple premiership captain Michael Voss.
In 289 games Voss topped 30 possessions 24 times. Beams has reached 50 in 143 games.
In further supporting evidence to the line of thinking that says 30 possessions today is like 25 in the Voss era, or even less, Beams’ teammate Dayne Zorko is next on this list with 18 games of 30 possessions or more. And he’s played only 118 games.
Then follows Brisbane utility Marcus Ashcroft (17 in 318 games), Fitzroy/Brisbane utility Scott McIvor (14 in 200 games) and St.Kilda’s David Armitage (12 in 152 games).
Just as impressively, Beams has had 12 games of 35 possessions or more to lead McIvor and Armitage (5), Voss and Zorko (4).
Armitage, who has played only team AFL games in a 2017 season ruined by injury, holds the record for most possessions in a game by a Queenslander at 45. That was in Round 6 2015 against the Western Bulldogs.
Beams had 23 kicks and 18 handballs, including 14 contested possessions, plus nine clearances, six tackles and a goal assist.
This earned him 121 Champion Data ranking points, his ninth CD ‘century’ of the season and his third in a row.
And yet Beams, despite his heavy glut of possession, was not the leading Queenslander in Round 19 of the Toyota AFL premiership for ranking points.
That honor went to Geelong ruckman Zac Smith, who earned 133 ranking points for an outstanding game in the Cats’ commanding win over Geelong.
Smith had 23 possessions, including 11 contested possessions, 33 hit-outs, four marks, seven clearances, two tackles, seven one-percenters and two goals.
His possession count was the equal second highest of his career, only two short of his best.
And his two goals included a brilliant right foot snap from the forward pocket which would more often be expected of a 183cm crumbing forward than a 206cm ruckman.
It was a superb performance from the former Gold Coast Sun, who did the ruck job solo for Geelong and Carlton in-form big man Matthew Kreuzer and certainly had him covered until Kreuzer was forced out of the game with concussion in the third quarter.
It was also the second time this season Smith has topped the Queensland ranking points, having also done so when he had 136 in Round 9 against the Western Bulldogs.
Smith and Beams were the only Queenslanders to top 100 Champion Data points in Round 19.
But two exciting young locals in the Lions side should still be well-pleased with their effort.
Ben Keays had 22 possessions (12 contested), four tackles and a goal against West Coast for a career-best 94 ranking points. And he had a 77% disposal efficiency.
Despite a couple of costly fumbles that no doubt will be mentioned by coach Chris Fagan the former junior star showed he is starting to find his feet at AFL level.
Debutant Jacob Allison, too, had a fine day. Predictably getting better as the game went on, he finished with 20 possessions and five marks, and looked right at home at the higher level. He earned 53 ranking points.
In the same game Harris Andrews, up against dual Coleman Medallist Josh Kennedy, had 12 disposals, six marks and eight one-percenters.
Gold Coast debutant Max Spencer also acquitted himself well, picking up 12 possessions, six marks and five one-percenters in his side’s loss to Richmond at Metricon Stadium Saturday night.
Jarrod Harbrow had 21 possessions and 10 marks and Jesse Joyce 12 possessions.
Alex Sexton copped a heavy blow in the second quarter and did not return to the field after he failed a concussion test. He’d had three disposals to that point.
Collingwood’s Josh Thomas played in his first draw when Adelaide’s Mitch McGovern goaled after the siren for a share of the points. Thomas had 13 possessions, three clearances a goal and a goal assist.
North Melbourne’s Brayden Preuss enjoyed his first AFL win in his fifth game when the Roos won a thriller against Melbourne. Playing with a bad back that clearly incapacitated him, Preuss had 23 hit-outs, four disposals and five tackles.
Port Adelaide’s Charlie Dixon enjoyed the 38th win of his career and one of the most thrilling when teammate Robbie Gray goaled on the final siren to beat St.Kilda in Adelaide on Saturday night.
Dixon had 14 possessions (seven contested), seven marks, five tackles and a goal in horrific conditions not suited to a big man.
Hawthorn’s Brendan Whitecross made it back-to-back wins when the Hawks upset Sydney at the MCG. He had 16 possessions, seven marks and three tackles in a very solid effort.
Fremantle’s Lachie Weller had 22 possessions, eight marks and four tackles in his side’s hard0fought loss to GWS in Sydney, and Geelong’s Wylie Buzza had 10 possessions, five tackles and a goal in his third AFL game against Carlton.
In the NEAFL, Lions ruckman Archie Smith was best afield in his team’s 96-point win over Canberra with 22 disposals, four goals, 37 hit-outs, seven marks and two tackles.
Claye Beams, too, did his selection prospects no harm when he was named third best after 34 possessions and a goal, while Matthew Hammelmann did likewise when he collected five goals from 13 disposals and 11 marks and made five tackles.
Jack Bowes responded well to his omission from the Suns side with 26 disposals and two goals against the Giants.
In the VFL, Josh Smith had 33 disposals for Collingwood while Lachy Keeffe had 10 disposals and a goal, and Jesse White 11 disposals.
Tom Hickey was fifth best for Sandringham with 15 disposals and 28 hit-outs, while Jake Spencer was among the best for Casey.