By Peter Blucher
Where is the ceiling for Brisbane Lions excitement machine and goal-kicking dynamo Charlie Cameron?
It’s a question that has to be asked after Cameron, who last weekend became the first Queenslander to play 100 consecutive AFL games, continues to challenge the goal-kicking greats of the competition.
Could Cameron possibly be in the mix for an even bigger and better achievement? Could the 181cm tearaway defy history and win the coveted Coleman Medal as the League’s highest goal-kicker?
While the answer is probably no, the mere fact that he is even in contention alongside the likes of powerhouse key forwards Jeremy Cameron, Tom Hawkins and Charlie Curnow is testament to the worth of the 28-year.
Cameron kicked four goals in the Lions win over Carlton last weekend to give him 26 goals in eight games this season. He trails only namesake Jeremy, from Geelong, who has 33, and Carlton’s Curnow at 31. And he’s three ahead of Hawkins, the other half of the Geelong twin towers.
During his 100-game streak, which began in Round 1 2019 and takes in five seasons, Cameron has kicked 223 goals – behind only Hawkins (257) and Jeremy Cameron (237). If you take the last four years he’s No.2 behind Hawkins.
Certainly, the Mt.Isa-born graduate of Marist College at Ashgrove is leading the charge for the so-called ‘small forwards’ against the more traditional key forwards like the Geelong pair of Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron, and the Carlton pair of Curnow and Harry McKay, who have won the Coleman Medal in 2021-22.
Cameron, who has kicked 6-4-7-2-4 goals in the last five weeks, was one of three Queenslanders to figures in the coaches votes for Brisbane’s game against Carlton last week.
He earned four votes, while Jack Payne picked up eight votes for his wonderful shut-down job on Curnow, and Harris Andrews received three votes for a similarly effective role on McKay.
Payne, in the conversation for the most improved player in the competition, faced an enormous challenge against Curnow, who had kicked nine goals the week before against West Coast.
He was the primary focus of the Blues’ 47 inside 50s and had plenty of opportunities, but Payne held him to six possessions and one goal while collecting 13 possessions, nine marks (three contested marks) and eight intercept possessions. And he used the ball well coming out, with a disposal efficiency of 92.3%.
Andrews, back to his very best this year, held McKay to six possessions and one goal, and picked up 13 possessions and eight intercept possessions.
In other Queensland highlights from Round 8:
Port Adelaide’s Charlie Dixon defied a dicky knee to gather 13 possessions, two goals and nine hit-outs in their win over Essendon, and pulled in five contested marks to sit third in the League for contested marks behind the Carlton pair of Curnow and McKay.
Richmond giant Samson Ryan continued his rapid development in their win over West Coast, posting eight possessions, a goal and 31 hit-outs – more than double his previous hit-outs best of,
Also, Lions de-listee Connor McFadyen, enjoying an excellent first season with Sturt in the SANF, has been chosen in the South Australian squad ahead of their clash with WA at Adelaide Oval on Friday week (19 May).
Playing at centre half back for the unbeaten Double Blues under ex-Sydney Swans premiership player Marty Mattner, McFadyen will see the State game as an opportunity to win a return to the AFL via the mid-season draft, or the national draft at the end of the year.
Other familiar names in the SA squad are McFadyen’s Sturt teammate Casey Voss, ex-Lions Connor Ballenden, who playing at Woodville-West Torrens, and Sam Skinner, playing at South Adelaide, and ex-God Coast Sun Jez McLennan, who is playing with Centrals.