By Peter Blucher
Jarrod Harbrow will further enhance his prominent place in AFL history locally and nationally tomorrow afternoon as the Gold Coast SUNS play St.Kilda at Townsville’s Riverway Stadium.
Harbrow will play at his 19th different AFL venue as the national game lands in Townsville for the first time to move to the second line of players on the AFL’s all-time ‘played at most venues’ list.
He will join Paul Salmon, Robert Harvey, Gavin Wanganeen, Stephen Paxman, Doug Hawkins, Nathan Burke, Anthony Daniher and Gary Ayres with 19 different venues on his career CV.
One game behind this group are Port Adelaide’s Robbie Gray, Justin Westhoff, Travis Boak, Brad Ebert, Jack Watts, Tom Jonas, Chad Wingard, Aaron Young and Ollie Wines.
But Harbrow, the SUNS games record-holder originally from Cairns, will get no closer to the top.
How is that? Because Jack Hombsch, the outright leader at 20, is a SUNS teammate and will play at his 21st different AFL venue tomorrow night.
Harbrow and SUNS teammates Alex Sexton, Lachie Weller and Jesse Joyce will become the first Queenslanders to play in four of the five Queensland AFL venues.
For Sexton it will be the 18th different venue of his career, pushing him level with the Port players list above and up to second spot on the Queensland list in just his 110th game. Weller and Joyce will each add a 16th different venue to their career record.
It will be a new experience, too, for Armitage, who will celebrate his 31st birthday on Sunday. The one-time Mackay junior will play at the 17th different venue of his stellar 13-year career.
Harbrow (19) and Sexton (18) head the all-time Queensland most venues list from from Rory Thompson (17), Jason Akermanis (16), Nick Riewoldt (16), Sam Gilbert (16), Charlie Dixon (16), Armitage (16), Jason Dunstall (15), Marcus Ashcroft (15), Gavin Crosisca (15), Matthew Kennedy (15), Dayne Zorko (15), Weller (15), Joyce (15), Michael Voss (14), Scott McIvor (140, Ricky Petterd (14), Zac Smith (14), Dean McRae (14), Tom Hickey (14), Sam Reid (14) and Hawthorn’s Stephen Lawrence (14).
The SUNS’ Corey Ellis, recruited by the club last summer after four years and 27 games at Richmond, also will grab a slice of football history tomorrow when he plays his first game for the Suns and becomes the club’s 115th player overall.
Sam Day and Callum AhChee also will play their first game of the season for the Gold Coast.
A bumper crowd is expected at Riverway Stadium for the AFL’s first premiership match in Townsville, which are one time or another has been ‘home’ to five AFL players.
Braydon Preuss, now at Melbourne after beginning his career at North Melbourne, and Jake Spencer, a 10-year stalwart at Melbourne now playing with Aspley, are Townsville born and bred.
Josh Williams, now at Southport after a stint at North Melbourne, is another Townsville product, while Harbrow and Adelaide forward Josh Jenkins played in Townsville during their junior careers.
The AFL will hope to push the record ground attendance of 10,024, which was posted for an interstate Twenty20 cricket match between Queensland and Victoria on New Year’s Eve 2007.
The venue, modelled on the specifications of the Gabba, has also hosted a four-day cricket international between Australia “A” and Pakistan “A” in June 2009, and become Australia’s 10th official one-day international venue in November 2014 when it hosted a match between Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong.
The first AFL match in Townsville will follow 419 matches at the Gabba, 158 matches at Carrara, eight matches in Cairns and one at the Exhibition Grounds.
AFL football came to Queensland for the first time in 1952 when Geelong and Essendon played at the Brisbane Exhibition Grounds in a round in which all six games were moved to interstate or regional venues.
The Gabba hosted its first AFL match for premiership points in 1981 when Hawthorn and Essendon head north, and has been a regular home venue for the Brisbane Bears/Lions since 1991.
Key AFL record-holders at the Gabba are:
MOST GAMES: Simon Black (170), Luke Power (149), Michael Voss (147), Nigel Lappin (147), Marcus Ashcroft (136), Jason Akermanis (135), Jonathan Brown (133), Darryl White (128), Shaun Hart (125), Justin Leppitsch (117).
MOST GOALS: Jonathan Brown (323), Alastair Lynch (295), Daniel Bradshaw (290), Jason Akermanis (184), Michael Voss (140), Craig McRae (128), Luke Power (119), Roger Merrett (118), Shaun Hart (109), Nigel Lappin (100), Dayne Zorko (100).
MOST POSSESSIONS IN A GAME: Tom Rockliff (47), Tom Mitchell (46), Tom Rockliff (45), Pearce Hanley (45), Lachie Neale (43), Jordan Lewis (42), Sydney’s Josh Kennedy (41).
MOST GOALS IN A GAME: Billy Brownless (11), Jonathan Brown (10),. Jason Dunstall (10), Tony Lockett (10), Daniel Bradshaw (9), Lance Whitnall (9).
Harbrow is the games record-holder at Carrara, which was home to the Brisbane Bears from 1987-1992, hosted AFL fly-in matches from 2006-09, and has been home to the Suns since 2011.
He also has played most games in Cairns, which featured on the AFL fixture from 2011-18.
Key record-holders at Carrara are:
MOST GAMES: Jarrod Harbrow (76), Michael Rischitelli (61), Tom Lynch (61), Gary Ablett Jnr (57), David Swallow (57), Steven May (55), Alex Sexton (50), Sam Day (49), Rory Thompson (49),. Brandon Matera (47), Aaron Hall (47).
MOST GOALS: Tom Lynch (119), Brad Hardie (98), Roger Merrett (84, Gary Ablett Jnr (71), Brandon Matera (58), Harley Bennell (48), Alex Sexton (47), Charlie Dixon (44), Cameron O’Brien (42), Aaron Hall (42).
MOST POSSESSIONS IN A GAME: Scott Thompson (51), Gary Ablett Jnr (49), Gary Ablett Jnr (45), Bryce Gibbs (43), Gary Ablett Jnr (43), Lachie Neale (42), Dan Hannebery (42), Dion Prestia (42), Gary Ablett Jnr (42 x 4).
MOST GOALS IN A GAME: Peter Daicos (13), Gary Ablett Snr (11), Jason Dunstall (11), Jack Riewoldt (10), Simon Beasley (10), Gary Ablett Snr (9), Jason Dunstall (9).
Key record-holders in Cairns are:
MOST GAMES: Jarrod Harbrow (8), David Swallow (7), Michael Rischitelli (6), Matthew Shaw (6), Sam Day (6), Rory Thompson (6), Aaron Hall (6).
MOST GOALS: Liam Picken (8), Tom Lynch (8), Jack Riewoldt (7), Brandon Matera (6), Jack Redpath (6), Robin Nahas (5), Mitch Wallis (5), Luke Dahlhaus (5), Jake Stringer (5).
MOST POSSESSIONS IN A GAME: Jack Macrae (43), Trent Cotchin (38), Liam Picken (36), Brett Deledio (36).
MOST GOALS IN A GAME: Liam Picken (6), Jack Riewoldt (5), Robin Nahas (4).