AFL Round 15 Wrap

Joyce’s sweet taste of victory. By Peter Blucher.

Jesse Joyce sang the Gold Coast Suns song for the first time officially on Saturday afternoon as he put in place another plank on a path towards a promising AFL career.

Playing his fourth AFL game, the Palm Beach 18-year-old had a personal best 15 possessions as the Suns ended a 10-game losing streak with a 40-point win over St.Kilda at Metricon Stadium.

Settling nicely into the Suns defensive group and growing in confidence with every outing, he also had five marks and three 1%ers and, significantly, enjoyed 83% game time as he continues to win the confidence of Suns coach Rodney Eade.

In three previous games Joyce had had 10-6-10 possessions in losses to Sydney, Richmond and Hawthorn, and played only 74%, 56% and 72% of the game.

The homegrown redhead told Suns TV he had dreamed of signing the club song since he was a kid learning his trade in the Suns Academy, and believes he’s adjusted well to the pace of senior football.

“The first game (against Sydney) was a bit wet so it slowed down the pace a bit for me, but I think I’m up to that now and I’m starting to build some confidence with my game and starting to get the attacking mentality into it,” he said.

“Biggest part over the last couple of weeks has been trying to build myself within the defence of the team.

“Trying to get all the talk throughout the group happening, especially being in the backline it’s tough at times but I think we’ve been really solid.”

Joyce admits he has learned plenty playing alongside the likes of Steven May and Jarrod Harbrow, two of the club’s most influential leaders on the field.

“It’s great to learn a lot of them every week, they’re really inspiring in the way they go about it and I’m very happy to be a part of their defence while I’m there and I hope to keep playing a part in their group,” he said.

Joyce shared his first Gatorade shower on Saturday with teammate Peter Wright, who had to wait until his 12th AFL game to taste victory for the first time.

Three other players on the Suns’all-time playing list of 85 have had to wait even longer – Josh Caddy (17), Matthew Warnock (15) and May (14).

In other Queensland highlights in Round 15 over the weekend:-

  • Jarrod Harbrow collected a season-high 114 Champion Data points for 21 possessions and seven marks against the Saints. He polled the highest CD score among 11 Queenslanders to play in the third of the AFL’s bye rounds. The Suns’ win also made Harbrow the first player to post 30 wins for the expansion club. He heads the all-time win list from Trent McKenzie (29), Gary Ablett (28), Sam Day (27), Aaron Hall, Tom Lynch, Steven May and Michael Rischitelli (26).
  • Rory Thompson had easily his best game of the year in defence for the Suns, collecting 80 Champion Data points with 16 possessions, 11 marks and seven 1%ers.
  • Nick Riewoldt had his 10th 20-possession game of the season when he collected 21 touches in St.Kilda’s loss to the Gold Coast, but he had a forgettable career-worst night in front of goal. In his 311th game the Saints skipper kicker 0-5. It was the sixth time he’s kicked five behinds in a game but on the other wayward occasions (all at Etihad Stadium) he’s kicked 4-5 four times and 7-5 once.
  • Courtenay Dempsey kicked his first goal of the year to go with 15 possessions in Essendon’s Thursday night loss to West Coast in Perth.
  • Charlie Dixon enjoyed his 7th win of the year after posting 10 possessions and a goal in a typically bullocking performance for Port Adelaide in their win over Richmond. This made season 2016 the most successful of Dixon’s career, topping his six wins for Gold Coast in 2014.

In the VFL, Sam Michael had 26 hit-outs and nine possessions for Essendon against Port Melbourne in what looms as an audition for the AFL. With Matthew Leuenberger and Mark Jamar injured in the seniors against West Coast Michael is right in the selection frame this week after being an emergency selection five times this year.

Jesse White, dropped from the Collingwood side last week, responded with two goals, 23 possessions and 12 marks against the Northern Blues to be best afield. Adam Oxley, too, pushed for a senior recall with 25 possessions to be ranked third best for the Pies.

And in the NEAFL, Aliir Aliir kept his name prominently in the mind of Sydney coach John Longmire when best afield for the Swans Reserves against the NT Thunder at the SCG. He had 26 possessions and eight marks.


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