By Peter Blucher.
Zorko the No.1 Queenslander.
Dayne Zorko has been the best-performed Queenslander in the AFL to the halfway mark of the 2016 season, according to Champion Data ranking points.
The Brisbane Lions vice-captain, who missed Round 1 following a suspension incurred in the pre-season, has been a consistent standout for the battling Lions since then and heads the aggregate and average Champion Data scores.
On an aggregate basis Zorko has 1160 points to lead St.Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt (1084), Sydney’s Kurt Tippett (1046), St.Kilda pair David Armitage (1017) and Tom Hickey (920), Geelong’s Zac Smith (873) and Port Adelaide’s Charlie Dixon (832).
And on averages, Zorko shows the way with 116.0 points per game from Riewoldt (98.5), Tippett (95.1), Armitage (92.5), Hickey (83.6), Essendon’s Courtenay Dempsey (80.4), Brisbane’s Dayne Beams (79.5), Zac Smith (79.4) and Dixon (75.6).
Other players averaging more than 70ppg under Champion Data ratings have been Fremantle’s Lee Spurr (74.5), the Collingwood trio of Adam Oxley (73.0), Josh Smith (72.9) and Jesse White (72.5), and Brisbane’s Tom Bell (70.8).
Zorko had had nine 100-point games in a row under the Champion Data system before he missed out last week, scoring 97 against Carlton, while Riewoldt has topped triple figures seven times, Tippett six and Zac Smith four.
Then follows Armitage (3), Dixon (2), Hickey (2), Bell (1), Dempsey (1), St.Kilda veteran Sam Gilbert (1), Gold Coast games record-holder Jarrod Harbrow (1), Gold Coast’s Alex Sexton (1), Spurr (1) and elevated Melbourne rookie Josh Wagner (1).
Hickey’s Round 1 performance against Port Adelaide, when he had a Queensland record 56 hit-outs and a career-best 20 possessions, earned him 157 Champion Data ranking points and numerically has been the best performance by a Queenslander this season.
Other individual performances worth 140 points or more have been:-
149 – David Armitage – Round 10 v Fremantle – 28 possessions and 17 tackles.
148 – Dayne Zorko – Round 2 v North Melbourne – 24 possessions and 2 goals.
142 – Nick Riewoldt – Round 10 v St.Kilda – 24 possessions and 3 goals.
141 – Kurt Tippett – Round 9 v Hawthorn – 19 possessions, 2 goals and 35 hit-outs.
But while Zorko is the Champion Data front-runner among the Queensland AFL ‘family’ at the halfway mark of the season there is a double-barrel argument to say that Riewoldt, second in ranking points, is desperately unlucky not to rank higher.
He is the leading Queensland vote-getter in the AFL Coach’s Association Player of the Year award, in which each coach awards votes on a 5-4-3-2-1 after each match in which his team is involved.
The oldest Queenslander in the League this year in his 16th season, Riewoldt has 26 votes to head Zorko (18), Armitage (17), Dixon (17), Zac Smith (13) and Kurt Tippett (12).
Also, Riewoldt has been chosen three times in the AFL Team of the Week in the first 11 rounds.
So, too, has Tippett, who is thriving on his new role as the Swan’s No.1 ruckman.
Armitage, the leading possession-winner among Queenslanders, has twice been chosen in the Team of the Week, while Dixon and Zac Smith, enjoying a fresh start to their careers after off-season trades, have received this recognition once each.
Interestingly, the consistent Tippett has featured in the AFLCA votes more often than any other Queenslander – five. He’s polled in Round 2 against Carlton, Round 6 against Brisbane, and in Rounds 9-10-11 against Hawthorn, North Melbourne and Gold Coast.
Dixon and Riewoldt have been among the votes four times, and Zac Smith and Zorko three times. Armitage, Bell and Hickey have polled twice, and Cameron, Dempsey, Gilbert, Hampson, Harbrow and Sexton once each.
Queensland statistical leaders through Rounds 1-11 are:-
CHAMPION DATA POINTS (AGGREGATE)
Dayne Zorko 1160, Nick Riewoldt 1084, Kurt Tippett 1046, David Armitage 1017, Tom Hickey 920, Zac Smith 873, Charlie Dixon 832, Lee Spurr 819, Tom Bell 779, Sam Gilbert 740.
CHAMPION DATA POINTS (AVERAGE)
Dayne Zorko 116.0, Nick Riewoldt 98.5, Kurt Tippett 95.1, David Armitage 92.5, Tom Hickey 83.6, Courtenay Dempsey 80.4, Dayne Beams 79.5, Zac Smith 79.4, Charlie Dixon 75.6, Lee Spurr 74.5.
Charlie Dixon (26), Nick Riewoldt (21), Kurt Tippett (15), Dayne Zorko (15), Tom Bell (12), Alex Sexton (8), Zac Smith (8), Jesse White (7), David Armitage (6), Lachie Weller (5).
LEADING POSSESSION WINNERS (AGGREGATE)
David Armitage (261), Dayne Zorko (236),Nick Riewoldt (223),Lee Spurr (196),Tom Bell (191),Jarrod Harbrow (191), Adam Oxley (184),Sam Gilbert (170), Josh Wagner (166), Kurt Tippett (165).
LEADING POSSESSION WINNERS (AVERAGE)
Dayne Beams (24.0), David Armitage (23.73), Dayne Zorko (23.60), Josh Smith (21.29), Nick Riewoldt (20.27), Courtenay Dempsey (19.20), Josh Wagner (18.44), Adam Oxley (18.40),Lee Spurr (17.82), Tom Bell (17.36).
David Armitage (119), Zac Smith (96), Kurt Tippett (94),Tom Hickey (92), Dayne Zorko (92), Charlie Dixon (82), Tom Bell (76), Sam Gilbert (72), Nick Riewoldt (59), Josh Wagner (55).
David Armitage (60), Tom Hickey (37), Dayne Zorko (36), Kurt Tippett (34), Zac Smith (34).
Kurt Tippett (340), Tom Hickey (325), Shaun Hampson (312), Zac Smith (195).
Dayne Zorko (69), David Armitage (65), Sam Gilbert (49), Lachie Weller (40), Tom Hickey (37).
David Armitage (8), Charlie Dixon (8), Dayne Zorko (8), Kurt Tippett (7), Nick Riewoldt (5), Lachie Weller (5).
Daniel Merrett (73), Harris Andrews (70), Zac Smith (43), Tom Hickey (37),Kurt Tippett (33), Shaun Hampson (33).
Charlie Dixon (24), Nick Riewoldt (20), Kurt Tippett (20), Tom Hickey (11), Shaun Hampson (10).
Jarrod Harbrow (44), Lee Spurr (35), Adam Oxley (33), Dayne Zorko (23), Daniel Merrett (21).
Dayne Zorko (54), Nick Riewoldt (39), David Armitage (36), Tom Bell (35), Lachie Weller (35).
PLAYED EVERY GAME
Before this season Tom Hickey had never played more than six games in a row. Charlie Dixon had never played more than 10 games in a row. And Zac Smith hadn’t played 10 in a row since his debut season in 2011.
But at the midway point of 2016 Hickey, Dixon and Smith are among 11 Queenslanders to have played every game.
Others have been Armitage, Bell, Gilbert, Harbrow, Riewoldt, Spurr, Tippett and Fremantle youngster Lachie Weller, who went into the season with only three games behind him.
Hampson, Oxley and Zorko have each played 10 games, while Brisbane vice-captain Daniel Merrett and Josh Wagner have played nine games. Brisbane’s Claye Beams and Gold Coasters Cameron and Sexton have played eight.
Josh Smith, a remarkable fourth in average possessions among Queenslanders in his debut season at 21.3 per game, has played seven games in a row from his Round 4 debut after coming off the Collingwood rookie list.
Brisbane’s Harris Andrews played the first seven games of the season before injury.
Games totals for other Queenslanders this year have been White (6), Brisbane debutant Ben Keays (6), Dempsey (5), Brisbane forward Jono Freeman (4), Gold Coast’s Rory Thompson (3), Brisbane’s Liam Dawson (3), Dayne Beams (2), Sydney’s Aliir Aliir (1) and Gold Coast’s Jesse Joyce (1).
IN THE AFL TOP 50
Nick Riewoldt leads the AFL in marks at the halfway point of the season, while Charlie Dixon is ranked 6th in contested marks and equal 10th in goals, and Kurt Tippett, Tom Hickey and Shaun Hampson are ranked 6th-7th-8th in hit-outs.
Queenslanders to ranks in the top 50 in the competition in each individual statistics are:-
Goals: Charlie Dixon T10th, Nick Riewoldt T22nd, Kurt Tippett & Dayne Zorko T39th.
Disposals: David Armitage T50th.
Clearances: David Armitage T20th.
Centre Clearances: David Armitage 15th.
Stoppage Clearances: David Armitage T20th, Dayne Zorko & Tom Hickey T28th.
Marks: Nick Riewoldt 1st, Lee Spurr T11th.
Contested Marks: Charlie Dixon T6th, Nick Riewoldt & Kurt Tippett T14th.
Marks Inside 50: Nick Riewoldt 11th, Charlie Dixon 12th, Kurt Tippett T23rd.
Hit-Outs: Kurt Tippett 6th, Tom Hickey 7th, Shaun Hampson 8th, Zac Smith 16th.
Tackles: Dayne Zorko 11th, David Armitage 17th.
1%ers: Daniel Merrett T13th, Harris Andrews T15th, Zac Smith 43rd.
Goal Assists: David Armitage, Charlie Dixon & Dayne Zorko 42nd.