Queenslanders in the AFL: Round 16 Wrap

Submitted by Peter Blucher. 

Lions superstar Lachie Neale was talking to Channel 7 late last Thursday night when he dropped an astonishing endorsement of young Brisbane defender Keidean Coleman, suggesting he would win ‘multiple’ All-Australian blazers. Not one … multiple.

Neale, doing the media circuit after the Lions 41-point Round 16 win over the Western Bulldogs at the Gabba, spoke glowingly of Coleman after his dominant role in the commanding home win.

“He’s going to be a star – he’ll win multiple All-Australian jumpers,” the Brownlow Medallist said of the 22-year-old after just his 33rd AFL game.

It was nothing new to Lions insiders, who have long believed Coleman will be a very good AFL player for a long time, but it catapulted the former Lions Academy graduate into the national spotlight via the prime time television audience.

Coleman, stepping up magnificently after captain Dayne Zorko and fellow veteran Daniel Rich went down with hamstring problems, was a star off half back against the 2021 grand finalists.

He had 24 possessions and used the ball exquisitely, going at a disposal efficiency of 83% while collecting an equal game-high nine score involvements.

In any other game Coleman would have been best afield, but against the Dogs he had to be content with second-best and eight votes in the AFL Coach’s Association Player of the Year Award.

He was edged out by one of the great individual performances from a small forward by fellow Queenslander Charlie Cameron, who received the maximum 10 votes from Brisbane coach Chris Fagan and Dogs counterpart Luke Beveridge.

Cameron kicked an equal season-high four goals to slot into 10th spot on the all-time Brisbane goal-kicking list, going past Justin Leppitsch (194) and Brad Hardie (192).

But even more impressive was his career-best five goal assists – a performance that ranks equal third-best all-time for Brisbane in a statistical category recorded by the AFL since 2003.

Jonathan Brown holds the club record at seven goal assists in a 12-point come-from-behind win over Carlton at Marvel Stadium in 2007, when he also kicked three goals.

Jason Akermanis had six goal assists against North Melbourne at the Gabba in 2004, when he also kicked four goals in a 113-point win, while two other Brisbane players have had five goal assists in a game – Simon Black (2005) and Zorko (2018).

Brown’s seven goal assists in Round 5 of 2006 against Carlton, which was followed by a club record 10 goals against Carlton in Round 16 of the same season at the Gabba and saw Blues coach Denis Pagan sacked, is equal second-best across all AFL clubs.

The record stands at 10 goal assists to the credit of Geelong’s Steve Johnson against Melbourne in 2010, when the Cats kicked 37 goals to beat the Demons by 186 points and see Melbourne coach Dean Bailey sacked.

Equal with Brown with seven goal assists in a game are Travis Varcoe for Geelong (2010) and Chris Judd for Carlton (2011).

There was further good news in the Lions camp from vice-captain Harris Andrews, who returned to something like his best form against the Dogs with 16 possessions and 14 defensive one-percenters to earn two votes in the AFLCA award.

In other standout Queensland performances in Round 16, Ben Keays had 30 possessions and kicked two goals in Adelaide’s loss to Melbourne at Adelaide Oval, and Charlie Dixon sparked a late Port Adelaide rally which fell just short against Fremantle in Perth with 14 possessions, two goals and 15 hit-outs in an inspiration role split between the ruck and his customary spot at full forward. His freakish 50m checkside goal from the boundary line late in the game in general play was a standout.

Peter is a consultant with Vivid Sport. 

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