Round 16 AFL Wrap

Only once in the first 21 years and 15 rounds of Champion Data statistics did a player have 35 possessions, kick four goals and make 10 tackles in the same game. Patrick Dangerfield.

The Geelong champion was one out with this freakish treble in 4974 games that prior to last weekend comprised the exhaustive Champion Data statistical data base, which began in 1996.

Now there are two.

Dayne Zorko joined the Brownlow Medallist in this exclusive club with a stunning performance for the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba on Saturday night.

He had 36 disposals (14 contested possessions), four goals and 12 tackles, plus 10 clearances and a goal assist in the Lions Round 16 85-point loss to Geelong.

Coincidentally, Zorko’s 36-4-12 figures were exactly the same as the ground-breaking Dangerfield haul in the Cats’ 23-point win over the Western Bulldogs in Round 9 this year.

The Lions midfielder posted equal career-best numbers for goals, tackles and clearances, and was just two short of his career-best in possessions.

He earned a massive 196 Champion Data ranking points – the highest of any player in Round 16 and the equal third highest by any player this season.

Only Gold Coast’s Gary Ablett (210) and Carlton’s Bryce Gibbs (208) have scored more, while Dangerfield, too, has a ranking score of 196.

Zorko’s massive haul saw him jump to fourth position in total ranking points for the season. He now has 1740 at an average of 116 to trail only Dangerfield (2023), Carlton’s Sam Docherty (1817) and Hawthorn’s Tom Mitchell (1749).

Significantly, Zorko went past Richmond’s Dusty Martin (1719) with his 12th Champion Data ‘ton’  of the season.

Yet, staggeringly, he is unlikely to receive maximum votes on Brownlow Medal night.

Given the magnitude of Geelong’s win, Dangerfield is favoured to get the three Brownlow votes for his 38 possessions (23 contested), three goals, three tackles and 10 clearances.

Still, Zorko will get his reward at the Lions B&F dinner. So dominant has he been he could just about stop playing now and he would still win his third consecutive Merrett/Murray Medal.

The little magician’s wonderful game against Geelong saw him the leading Queenslander in Champion Data ranking points for the ninth time this season.

There were three other Queensland standouts in Round 16 of the Toyota AFL premiership.

Charlie Dixon was outstanding for Port Adelaide in their barnstorming win over West Coast in Perth on Sunday, kicking five goals and giving one off from 14 possessions and seven marks.

He earned 115 Champion Data points – his fifth ‘ton’ of the season.

His five-goal haul was his equal best in Port colors, and puts him eight clear of Zorko and his Brisbane teammate Eric Hipwood at the top of the Queensland goal-kicking list for the season.

Nick Riewoldt was a standout for St.Kilda against Richmond on Saturday night in what was called ‘Maddie’s Match’ in honour of his late sister.

Riewoldt had 15 possessions, 12 marks and kicked three goals for 116 ranking points – his fourth ton of the season.

His 12 marks took his career marks total to 2913 and saw him go past the all-time AFL record for marks, held previously by former Footscray and North Melbourne champion Gary Dempsey at 2906.

The third Queensland CD centurion of the weekend was Geelong ruckman Zac Smith.

He had 18 possessions (eight contested), 18 hit-outs, four clearances, three tackles and a nice snapped goal against the Lions for 109 rankings points. It was his fourth ton of the year.

St.Kilda’s Sam Gilbert earned 99 Champion Data points for 19 possessions, six hit-outs and seven one-percenters in their massive win over Richmond.

Melbourne’s Josh Wagner also had a weekend to remember, kicking the first and second goal of his career in the Demons’ last-gasp win over Carlton on Sunday. He had 18 possessions to rank among his side’s best.

Brother Corey, too, had a good weekend without bagging big numbers.

He had only seven possessions for North Melbourne in their last-minute loss to Fremantle in Melbourne, but won lavish praise from coach Brad Scott for his excellent defensive work on Dockers’ dangerman Hayden Ballantyne, holding him to an equal career-low four possessions.

Gold Coast’s Alex Sexton had 24 possessions and a career-high 13 marks against the Sydney Swans in Sydney on Saturday, while Jack Bowes had 16 possessions, Jarrod Harbrow 17 possessions and Rory Thompson 12 possessions and seven one-percenters.

At the Gabba, Dayne Beams, bravely playing with a bad shoulder, had 18 possessions and six tackles against Geelong, while Hipwood had eight possessions and kicked two goals, Archie Smith eight possessions and 11 hit-outs, Matthew Hammelmann seven possessions and Harris Andrews five possessions and eight one-percenters.

Wylie Buzza played his second game for Geelong and did some nice things, unselfishly giving off two goals with clever passes to go with nine possessions and three marks.

The Gatton 21-year-old got his hands on a few big pack marks without hanging on, but certainly did enough to confirm an exciting future.

Josh Thomas continued his comeback with 19 possessions, five marks and a one goal against for Collingwood against Essendon, while teammate Josh Smith had 12 possessions.

Lachie Weller had 17 possessions for Fremantle against North after Lee Spurr was ruled out with a calf injury, ending a run of 49 consecutive games.

Sam Reid had six disposals in a quiet day for GWS as they became the first side since 1921 to play consecutive draws when they split the points with Hawthorn in Launceston.

In the NEAFL, Aliir Aliir kept the pressure on the Sydney Swans selectors with 27 possessions when he was ranked second-best in a 107-point win over Gold Coast.

Jesse Joyce had 19 possessions for the Suns, Brad Scheer 16 and Toby Spencer 15.

In the Lions’ 121-point win over Aspley, Ben Keays had 25 possessions and kicked one goal, Blake Grewar 23 possessions and one goal, Jono Freeman 12 possessions and two goals, Liam Dawson 14 possessions and two goals, Jacob Allison 16 possessions and Reuben William 12 possessions.
In the VFL, Tom Hickey missed a chance to push for a senior recall when he didn’t play, while Jake Spencer had  10 possessions and 37 hit-outs for Casey, Lachy Keeffe 10 possessions for Collingwood, and Brendan Whitecross 14 possessions for Box Hill.

And in the SANFL, Elliott Himmelberg had his best game of the season, kicking four goals from 11 possessions and six marks in the Crows’ win over the Port Magpies. Paul Hunter had 13 possessions and 25 hit-outs for the Crows.

By Peter Blucher





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