AFL Round 23 Selection

Four Queensland ‘iron men’ in Round 23.   By Peter Blucher.

David Armitage will finally jump a hurdle he’s just missed four times to head the Queensland ironman brigade and post his 150th game in the final round of the 2016 AFL home-and-away season this weekend.

Armitage will join St.Kilda teammate Sam Gilbert and Fremantle pair Lee Spurr and Lachie Weller as Queenslanders who have played all 22 games this season.

They were denied the company of Jarrod Harbrow in this group when the Gold Coast games record-holder, chasing his third full season after going without a miss in 2011 and 2014, was ruled unfit.

Armitage had just failed to grab his own ironman four times in the last five years. He played 21 of 22 games in 2012-13-15 and he played 22 of a possible 23 games, including one final, in 2011.

But the Mackay-born 28-year-old midfielder will finally break through when he completes an unbroken season against the Brisbane Lions at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Armitage will share his milestone occasion with Lions veteran Daniel Merrett, who will play his 200th and last game.

But fellow Saint Tom Hickey, who had played 20 games in a row this season until sidelined by injury last weekend, was denied an ‘invitation’ to the party for his 50th game in red, black and white when he was ruled unfit again.

Armitage, the first Queenslander taken in the 2006 National Draft, will be 23rd Queenslander to play 150 AFL games, and the fifth who have worn St.Kilda colors after Nick Riewoldt, Max Hudghton, Gilbert and Brett Voss.

Members of the Queensland 150 Club are Jason Akermanis (325), Marcus Ashcroft (318), Nick Riewoldt (318), Michael Voss (289), Jason Dunstall (269), Gavin Crosisca (246), Mal Michael (238), David Hale (237), Max Hudghton (234), Scott McIvor (200), Daniel Merrett (199), Matthew Kennedy (188), Jarrod Harbrow (184), Mitch Hahn (181), Sam Gilbert (178), Brett Voss (170), Ben Hudson (168), Michael Osborne (168), Kurt Tippett (165), Clint Bizzell (163), Che Cockatoo-Collins (160)and Brad Miller (157).

Armitage will be hoping his 150th game is more memorable than previous milestone games.

His 50th was the elimination final against Sydney in 2011, when he was injured early as the Saints lost by seven points, and in his 100th against Carlton in 2014 St.Kilda were hammered by 85 points.

Armitage will have another personal reason for wanting to do well on Sunday – he goes into the final round seven possessions ahead of Brisbane’s Dayne Zorko in the battle to be Queensland’s leading ball-winner this year. Armitage has 448 and Zorko 441.

Gilbert will post his third 22-game season on Sunday, having gone without a miss in 2010 and 2011, while Spurr will register his second full season after playing all 22 games in 2014.

Weller, who played three games in his 2015 debut season, will earn his first ironman badge at age 20 to further underline his enormous potential.

Ironically, Armitage, Spurr and Courtenay Dempsey, now at Essendon, were junior teammates at Morningside.

Dempsey, sidelined by injury for the past fortnight, was named in the Bombers side Thursday night for Saturday’s MCG clash with Carlton.

In other Queensland selection news for Round 23:-

  • Jesse Joyce was recalled to the Gold Coast side to play Port Adelaide at Metricon on Saturday night, but Clay Cameron had to be content with being an emergency for the seventh time in the last 10 rounds.
  • Liam Dawson and Archie Smith were bracketed on an extended Lions interchange bench ahead of clash with St.Kilda.
  • Sudanese-born Aspley junior Mabior Chol will debut for Richmond against Sydney at the SCG Saturday afternoon. Elevated from the Tigers’ rookie list Thursday morning, he be the 11th Queensland product to debut in the AFL this year after Josh Wagner, Josh Smith, Aliir Aliir, Ben Keays, Jesse Joyce, Corey Wagner, Eric Hipwood, Matthew Hammelmann, Reuben William and Archie Smith.
  • Corey Wagner and Joel Tippett were named as emergencies for North Melbourne’s visit to Sydney for Saturday night’s clash with the GWS Giants.



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