Queenslanders in the AFL – Round 15

By Peter Blucher.

Tom Hickey now holds two Queensland AFL records. He shares with Ben Hudson the distinction of being the State’s only four-club AFL players, and now among 197 Queenslanders to play in the AFL he boasts the biggest win.

Hickey jumped to the top of the list when the Sydney Swans obliterated West Coast, one of his previous clubs, by 171 points at the SCG in Round 15 last weekend.

The mop-haired ruckman got the first two centre clearances of the game and was a driving force throughout, with 19 possessions (13 contested), 35 hit-outs, seven clearances and 13 score involvements in the 31-19 (205) to 5-4 (34) atrocity.

It was enough for the 32 year-old, playing just his fifth game of the season after an injury-delayed start, to earn two votes in the AFL Coaches Association Player of the Year Award.

Despite his limited preparation Hickey has quickly reminded coach John Longmire the Swans are a better play with him in the side. And if they are to resurrect a poor start to the season much will depend on the one-time Morningside junior.

Hickey’s 171-point win bettered the record for the biggest win by a Queenslander of 165 points, shared by David Hale and Brendan Whitecross at Hawthorn, when they pummelled Port Adelaide 31-11 197) to 5-2 (32) at the MCG in Round 21 2011. Lance Franklin (8 goals) and Cyril Rioli (6 goals) let the rout.

This had bettered the previous best of 162 points, set by Steven Handley playing just his sixth game for Geelong in Round 7 1992. It came against the Brisbane Bears at Carrara, with Gary Ablett Snr (9 goals) and Paul Brown (6 goals) leading the way for the Cats, and #1 draft pick John Hutton, in only his sixth game for the Bears, kicking eight goals in the losing side.

Six other Queenslanders have enjoyed wins of 150 points-plus. They were:

162 points – Michael Voss, Marcus Ashcroft, Troy Clarke and Matthew Kennedy were members of the Bears side that beat Sydney at the Gabba in 1993, when Roger Merrett and Michael Murphy kicked eight goals apiece.

162 points – Just 27 games after the 165-point win Hale and Whitecross again combined for Hawthorn in their first game against  GWS at the MCG in 2012, when they won by 162 points. The 28-25 (193) to 4-7 (31) scoreline remains the Giants’ biggest loss and highest score conceded.

160 points – In Round 20 1992 Jason Dunstall and Stephen Lawrence shared in Hawthorn’s 32-24 (216) to 8-8 (56) win over Essendon at the MCG. Dunstall. In his 164th game Dunstall, already with 100 goals for the season, kicked 12.

157 points – Fifteen months earlier in Round 6 1991 Dunstall and Lawrence had combined again in Hawthorn’s 157-point win over Fitzroy at North Hobart Oval, former home of Tasmanian football. Dunstall ‘only’ kicked six and was upstaged by Ben Allan and Darren Jarman with seven apiece as the Hawks posted what is still the club’s highest score and wrote two forever lines in the Fitzroy record books for biggest loss and highest score conceded. Making his debut for Fitzroy that day was a 23-year-old David Noble, later to coach North Melbourne after a stint as football chief at the Lions.

There have been four other games involving Queenslanders in wins of 140 points or more.

Essendon’s Courtenay Dempsey was part of a 148-point win over Melbourne at the MCG in 2013, Essendon’s Trevor Spencer shared in Essendon’s 142-point win over West Coast at Windy Hill in 1989 and North Melbourne’s Dean McRae was part of a 141-point win over Richmond at the MCG in 1980.

And, finally, the Lions septet of Voss, Jason Akermanis, Jamie Charman, Mal Michael, Robert Copeland and eighth-gamer Joel Macdonald helped smash Adelaide by 141 points at the Gabba in 2004. Akermanis had 35 possessions and kicked four goals for three Brownlow Medal votes to help inflict a loss that remains the Crows’ biggest.

Overall, Dunstall, Voss and Nick Riewoldt have been part of eight 100-point wins to lead the list from Hale (6), Ashcroft (6), Akermanis (6), Frank Dunell (5), Sam Gilbert (5), Max Hudghton (5), Brett Voss (5), Kurt Tippett (5) and Charlie Cameron (5).

The first Queenslander to taste a 100-point win in AFL was Glen Scanlon, who played nine games with North and Footscray in 1977-78. In his eighth and second-last game for the Dogs in Round 13 1978 at Whitten Oval he was part of a 33-15 (213) to 16-10 (106) win over StKilda. Kelvin Templeton kicked 15 goals in what remains the Dogs highest score 45 years on.

In the key Queensland news from Round 15:-

Brisbane co-captain Harris Andrews produced his best game in a couple of years in a 28-point win over St.Kilda at Marvel Stadium, collecting 21 possessions, 14 marks and 14 one-percenters. He had six intercept marks at halftime and finished with nine – one short of the all-time record – after the Saints employed deliberate tactics to take him out of play. He was a unanimous choice as best afield by coaches Chris Fagan and Ross Lyon.

Eric Hipwood was an ever-threatening force up forward, kicking four goals in his best effort of the year. Now with 10 goals in his last three games, he received eight coaches votes.

Jack Payne, proving he has lost none of his brilliant early season form, shut down Max King brilliantly, holding the St.Kilda spearhead goalless to allow Andrews to play more of an attacking role deep in defence. Will Ashcroft had 16 possessions and a team-high seven tackles as house mate Jaspa Fletcher again showed plenty of poise and class in his second game, collecting 12 possessions.

Ben Keays had a season-high 29 possessions and 10 clearances in Adelaide’s two-point loss to Collingwood at Adelaide Oval, but found himself in trouble with the match review panel. He was fined $1500 for misconduct after he ripped off the $3000 protective glasses of the Pies’ Mason Cox in a final quarter melee.

And Lachie Weller got through three quarters of his first game since Round 7 as the Gold Coast thumped Hawthorn by 67 points at Carrara without incident, collecting 12 possessions and getting better as he went on before taking an early mark. He had been sidelined with knee soreness, prompting an ultra-cautious approach from the Suns medical staff after his knee reconstruction last year.

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