By Peter Blucher.
Breakout game for Weller. .
Lachie Weller enjoyed a breakout game as the Fremantle Dockers posted their first win of the season over the weekend.
Playing his 14th AFL game in his second season at the elite level, Weller had the first 20-possession game of what shapes as a long and fruitful career.
Looking very much the first-round draft pick he was in November 2014, settling into his work with more confidence every week, the 20-year-old Broadbeach and Southport product also had five contested possessions, three clearances, five tackles and a goal as the Dockers thumped Essendon.
Having signed a two-year contract extension a couple of months ago that ties him to the Dockers until the end of 2018, Weller struck a blow for the ‘little guys” in the Queensland AFL ‘family’ on a weekend dominated by players 200cm-plus.
In other Queensland highlights from Round 11 of the Toyota AFL premiership:-
Shaun Hampson had 51 ruck hit-outs for Richmond against North Melbourne – third highest ever by a Queenslander. His effort in an extension of what has been a good patch of form fell in behind Tom Hickey’s 56 hit-outs for St.Kilda in Round 1 this year and Hampson’s 52 hit-outs in 2014.
Kurt Tippett extended his own golden run of form with a career-best 50 hit-outs for Sydney against Gold Coast to grab fourth spot on the all-time single-game hit-out list. Enjoying a weekend at home, Tippett also had 16 possessions and five clearances to tank among the Swans’ best in water-logged slug fest at Metricon Stadium.
Zac Smith won lavish praise from Geelong coach Chris Scott for his huge solo effort in the Cats’ crunch win over the GWS Giants at Simmonds Stadium. Confronting the colossal form of Shane Mumford, who had been something of a bogeyman for him in the past, Smith worked tirelessly as he tackled what the AFL website described as “the biggest responsibility he had faced in his football career” after regular ruck partner Rhys Stanley was a late withdrawal. He was rewarded with a season-high 19 possessions, 31 hit-outs, a career-best 10 clearances and a goal. Said Scott of his prized recruit: “We were really proud of him. We thought he was great.”
Charlie Dixon was similarly lauded by Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley despite going goalless in the Power’s crunch win over Collingwood. “I thought the big full-forward was special,” said Hinkley. “Fantastic … best game for the club.” Involved in everything and providing a fantastic contest whenever Port went forward, Dixon had 14 possessions and four tackles and a lot more impact than his statistics might suggest, helping to set up a lot of goals by his ability to bring the ball to ground in a marking contest.
Josh Wagner posted his first 100-point Champion Data ranking after 21 possessions in Melbourne’s hard-fought loss to Hawthorn. He had a career-best 12 contested possessions and five 1%ers.
Courtenay Dempsey had 14 possessions for Essendon in his 114th game to become the 22nd Queenslander to top 2000 career possessions in the AFL.
Jarrod Harbrow had a season-high 24 possessions for Gold Coast against Sydney as Jesse Joyce had 10 possessions on debut.
In the VFL, Corey Wagner kicked three goals and was named second-best for Werribee against Collingwood to keep his name forefront in the mind of the North Melbourne selectors. Mabior Chol was named sixth best for Richmond against Coburg.
And in the NEAFL, Matthew Hammelmann, enjoying a stint in defence, was named best for the Lions Reserves against the Canberra Demons, and Rory Thompson was fifth-best in a successful comeback from injury for the Suns Reserves against the Sydney Reserves, from whom Aliir Aliir was a standout again.