Submitted by Peter Blucher
Three Queenslanders walked of Metricon Stadium proud and pleased on Sunday evening after the Gold Coast Suns’ win over Carlton, but none more so than Lachie Weller.
The dashing half back flanker had a career-high 31 possessions and was a key contributor in a win which not only ended the Blues’ unbeaten start to the season but restored faith inside the Suns camp.
He polled four votes in the AFLCA player of the year award to rank the fourth-best player on the ground behind teammates Jarrod Witts and Noah Anderson, who polled nine votes each to share best afield honours, and Touk Miller, who polled nine votes.
It was a welcome return to form in his 119th game for the ex-Suns Academy product and Fremantle utility, who is into his fifth season with the Suns after three years in Perth. And a timely confidence-booster as the 26-year-old closes in on the 123-game career mark of older brother Mav, who played at Gold Coast, St.Kilda and Richmond.
Also, it was the second 30-possession game of his career, and tops his previous best of 30 for Fremantle in 2017.
Fellow Queenslanders Mabior Chol and Alex Davies also were significant contributors as the Suns, embarrassed by the GWS Giants in Sydney in Round 3 after a promising start to the season, answered the waves of criticism with a gritty all-the-way win.
Chol, proving an important addition to the Suns ranks after his free agency switch from Richmond, kicked three goals and, with nine for the season ranks equal 13th in the competition.
Davies, in just his fifth game, had 15 possessions including 11 contested possessions – equal third on the Suns stats sheet behind only Miller (21) and Anderson (15).
The other Queenslander to feature in the coach’s votes was GWS utility Lachie Keefe.
Continuing what has been a rollercoaster start to the season, Keefe was rated the Giants best player in their 34-point loss to Fremantle. He received two votes, with Isaac Cumming the only other GWS player to poll.
Brayden Preuss was another solid contributor for the Giants with 14 possessions (10 contested), 31 hit-outs, four clearances and five tackles but incurred the wrath of the Match Review Panel for the second time this season.
Having been unavailable for Round 1 due to suspension, he copped another one-week ban for striking Dockers veteran David Mundy in a costly lapse that will infuriate coach Leon Cameron.
Ben Keays continued his strong season with Adelaide, picking up 27 possessions and 12 tackles in their loss to Essendon. Keays now leads his team in possessions, contested possessions, tackles and clearances this season.
In other news relevant to Queensland AFL fans, the League has confirmed three ‘off broadway’ matches for the two Queensland teams in finalising the fixture for Rounds 10-11.
The Suns will play the Western Bulldogs at 1.45pm in Ballarat on Saturday 21 May and Hawthorn in Darwin at 7.40pm on Saturday 28 May. It will be the club’s first visit to the NT capital.
The Lion have drawn Hawthorn at 3.20pm in Launceston on Sunday 22 May and will host the GWS Giants at the Gabba at 1.45pm on Saturday 28 March.
Rounds 10-11 together will together comprise the Sir Doug Nicholls Round and coincides with National Reconciliation Week which runs from Friday 27 May to Friday 3 June.
Peter Blucher is a Consultant with Vivid Sport.