Wouldn’t it be nice to be a fortune teller with a crystal ball so that you could predict accurately what might happen?
You could make yourself seem so smart. And so right. Most of the time.
But not even a psychic with giant crystal ball powers could have predicted two quite stunning events that will occur as the Toyota AFL premiership season reaches the mid-point this weekend.
Without reading on, take yourself back to March and try to predict which Queenslanders would play every game to the halfway mark of the season.
Also, ask yourself which Queenslander would have polled most votes in the AFL Coach’s Association Player of the Year award at mid-season.
Question 1? You would have chosen a lot of players before you got to a certain 19-year-old Gold Coast Suns defender who began the season having played a total of 11 games.
And Question 2? Similarly, there would have been plenty more likely candidates than a certain Port Adelaide key forward who had averaged 14 games a season in his first six years in the AFL.
But as we reach what is regarded as the mid-point of the season despite the fact that not every team has played exactly the same number of games due to the split rounds that certain Suns defender and that certain Port Adelaide forward have proved plenty of good judges horribly wrong.
Jesse Joyce will go into Round 12 as one of nine Queenslanders to have played every game in the first half of the season.
He’s in good company alongside Brisbane trio Dayne Zorko, Harris Andrews and Eric Hipwood, Fremantle pair Lachie Weller and Lee Spurr, Gold Coast teammate Alex Sexton, St.Kilda veteran Sam Gilbert, and Port forward Charlie Dixon.
Joyce, who played the last 11 games of the 2016 season, will take his run of consecutive games from debut to 22 when he plays his 11th game of this season against Hawthorn at the MCG on Saturday.
But it’s one thing to play every week as Joyce has done in such efficient fashion despite his unheralded introduction to the AFL via the 2016 Rookie Draft.
It’s another thing to be the best-performed Queenslander. As that same certain Port key forward has been.
Dixon picked up nine votes in the AFLCA Player of the Year award for his four-goal Round 11 performance against Geelong.
This saw him shoot to the top of the Queenslander leaderboard in the award for which each AFL coach votes on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis for his team’s match each week.
After Round 11 Dixon heads the list with 26 votes from Brisbane’s Dayne Beams (22), Zorko (18) and St.Kilda’s Nick Riewoldt (12).
Gold Coast’s Jarrod Harbrow (6), Geelong’s Zac Smith (5), Andrews (3), Lachie Weller (2) and North Melbourne’s Braydon Preuss (1) are the only other Queenslanders to have polled.
It has been a wonderful performance from Dixon, who played 18 of a possible 22 games in his first season at Port last year, and hasn’t missed a game this season to play a key role in Port’s surge to the top four.
Queenslanders have been largely shielded from the former Gold Coast Sun’s big impact on the League’s big surprise packet due to the lack of detailed media coverage from the SA capital, but Port teammate Jackson Trengove this week told just how big he has become.
“Charlie’s a ripper, a bloke’s bloke,” Trengove said on Triple M on Wednesday.
“It’s Charlie’s World going on at footy club at the moment.
“Whatever Charlie wants … he’s just got that personality that excites the players.
“He doesn’t care what people think, what the media think or what outside influences think.
“He’s a bloke’s bloke, loves his cars, loves his footy, loves to have a beer with the boys.
“The form that he’s in has been super.”
“The last few weeks he’s been really noticed on the scoreboard but early on in the season — his pressure work … I think that’s the beauty of Charlie.
“He’s 200cm and 110 kilos but the work that he does on the ground, to bring the ball to ground and compete is second to none.
“That’s probably the most exciting part.
Trengove revealed that Dixon was playing about 5kg lighter this season after a concerned push from fitness boss Darren Burgess.
“I think credit to ‘Burgo’ and his team,” he said.
“They did a lot of work around Charlie losing a bit of weight. I think he was about 115kg throughout last season and it was probably a bit too heavy.
“He thought he needed to be heavy as a forward but credit to Charles he listened to Burgo and the team and really responded.”
Dixon will reach the mid-point of the season without missing a game for the second time in as many years at Port when they meet Essendon at Etihad Stadium Saturday night.
And Joyce will reach the mid-point without a blemish when Gold Coast play Hawthorn at the MCG on Saturday.
He will do so without Harbrow playing alongside him in the Suns backline after the club’s games record-holder was suspended by the club for one game for disciplinary reasons.
Sexton will be in the side to get to mid-season without missing a game for the first time.
In Thursday night selection for Round 12, Queensland pair Matthew Hammelmann and Ben Keays were omitted from the Brisbane side to host Fremantle at the Gabba Saturday afternoon.
Archie Smith, though, retained his spot and will play his second game of the year.
St.Kilda ruckman Tom Hickey, five weeks on the sideline with a knee injury, was named as an emergency for the Saints’ Friday night clash with Adelaide in Adelaide.
Hickey resumed in the VFL last weekend and got through without incident.
Sam Gilbert will play for the Saints but Riewoldt will miss again with injury.
Brendan Whitecross will play for Hawthorn against the Suns, but Melbourne defender Josh Wagner will spend a couple of anxious days after he was named on an extended interchange bench ahead of Monday’s clash with Collingwood at the MCG.
Josh Smith will play for Collingwood, and Sam Reid will play for the GWS Giants against Carlton at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Weller and Spurr will play for Fremantle against a Brisbane side that includes Zorko, Dayne Beams, Andrews, Hipwood and Archie Smith.
All this came after the omission of Kurt Tippett from the Sydney Swans side for Thursday night’s SCG win over the Bulldogs.
With Aliir Aliir among the Swans emergencies, this meant there were no Queenslanders playing as the Swans posted an impressive 46-point win.
By Peter Blucher