Early return for Charlie. By Peter Blucher.
Charlie Dixon will make a surprise early return from injury on Saturday to make his first season at Port Adelaide the most productive of his career.
Expected to be sidelined for “three or four weeks” after North Melbourne defender Robbie Tarrant fell across his ankle in Round 17, Dixon has missed only two games and will play against the Sydney Swans at the SCG.
It will be his 17th game of the year, surpassing his best year at the Gold Coast Suns last year, when he played 16 games.
After five years at the Gold Coast in which he was often cursed by injury, Dixon would have been really disappointed to have been forced out three weeks ago.
But the big Port power forward will be pleased to be back now and in with a chance to make it 20 home-and-away games for 2016.
It’s a little thing that means a lot to modern day footballers.
Heading into Round 20 six Queenslanders have played 18 of a possible 18 games this year and are on track to play a full home-and-away season – St.Kilda’s David Armitage, Sam Gilbert and Tom Hickey, Fremantle’ Lee Spurr and Lachie Weller, and Gold Coast’s Jarrod Harbrow.
It would be a first for Armitage, who has played 21 of a possible 22 home-and-away games four times in 2011-12-13-15.
Gilbert has played a full home-and-away season twice in 2010-11. Harbrow did so twice in 2011-14 and Spurr once in 2014, while Weller is on track for a full season in just his second year, having only debuted in Round 18 last year.
Already Hickey has smashed his previous best of 12 games in 2013.
Richmond’s Shaun Hampson has played 16 games to better his previous best of 14 games for Carlton in 2009.
And Gold Coast’s Alex Sexton played his 15th game of the year last weekend to better his previous best of 14 games in 2014.
Geelong’s Zac Smith, with 17 of a possible 18 games in his first season with the Cats, is on track to better his best year of 20 games in his first season at the Gold Coast in 2011.
And, on a lower scale but of a similar significance, GWS’s Sam Reid is on target to post the best home-and-away season of his career after he held his spot in the Giants side for Saturday’s twilight clash with the Suns at Metricon.
It will be his sixth games of the season as he chases his career high of nine for GWS in 2013.
In other Round 20 Queensland selection news Thursday night:-
- A five-goal best afield performance in the Reserves from Clay Cameron couldn’t get him into the Suns side. He was named as an emergency.
- Adam Oxley was named a Collingwood emergency for the second week in a row ahead of the Friday night clash with Richmond at the MCG.
- Corey Wagner was named as a North Melbourne emergency for the fourth time and the second time in a row ahead of Saturday night’s Etihad Stadium crunch game against the Western Bulldogs.
- Josh Wagner was officially listed as ‘omitted’ by Melbourne ahead of their Saturday clash with Hawthorn at the MCG. But the first-year elevated rookie will not play in the VFL either and instead has been given a full weekend off to freshen up.
- Sam Michael lost his place in the Essendon side for Sunday’s clash with Geelong at Etihad Stadium.
- Archie Smith, so impressive on debut as a replacement for the Brisbane Lions’ injured No.1 ruckman Stefan Martin last week, will play his second game against Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night after Martin was not considered again.
- Brendan Whitecross will play the fourth game of his comeback for Hawthorn against the Demons.
- Aliir Aliir, so impressive in recent weeks for Sydney that he could soon be removed from the ‘will he be picked this week?’ category, will play is seventh AFL game and his fifth in a row against Port.