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Opinion

AFL top 100: Brisbane's games and goals

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Roar Rookie
12th November, 2020
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Brisbane is in a unique position in terms of its heritage. It is in fact an amalgamation of two clubs: Fitzroy and the Brisbane Bears.

They came together to form the Brisbane Lions in 1997 and this creates a statistical dilemma when acknowledging the Top 100 game players of these three clubs.

Whilst there is general agreement that Fitzroy should be treated as a Melbourne-based separate entity and its records should reflect that fact, it does discriminate against those players who started their careers at Fitzroy and finished it in the merged conglomerate in Brisbane.

I have no doubt however that the correct treatment of the two Brisbane clubs is to combine the statistics to reflect the Brisbane contribution over the past 34 years to AFL history in the capital city of Queensland and this is what I have done.

As a result, the Brisbane Top 100 game players comprises 15 players who made their mark as Bears only in the first decade of the club, 22 players who had started their careers as Bears and transitioned to Lions and 63 players who have only represented the Lions in Queensland.

Of those 63, 13 are current players. The most experienced current player is the reliable Daniel Rich. Rich is now 30 years old and early in the 2021 season should move past both Daniel Bradshaw and Justin Leppitsch and into the Top 10 game players of all time at Brisbane.

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Dayne Zorko is 31 years old but still in top form and would appear to have many seasons left of top football at a club that is now establishing itself as a regular finals contender.

He needs to play 16 more games to become the 19th Brisbane player to achieve the 200 game milestone and a good season could see him climb into 18th place on the Brisbane Top 100 game players list.

Ryan Lester should bring up the 150 game milestone mid-season and Eric Hipwood should celebrate 100 games in Round 7. In total, the Lions have five players over 30, but a batch of high quality younger players who appear settled and committed to the club.

With players such as Oscar McInerney, Charlie Cameron and Rhys Mathieson about to become Top 100 game players, the future for Brisbane looks exciting.

So far they have deleted five players from their list to make room for any eventualities and Allen Christiansen has retired. In total, these players played four games between them in 2020. The talented Alex Witherden is leaving for the West Coast Eagles and Stefan Martin was the other confirmed trade, moving to Western Bulldogs.

Goal kicking wise, it is the champion Dayne Zorko who leads the pack of current players in the goal kicking stakes. Zorko moved into Top 10 at the club when he passed former Bears player Brad Hardie during the season and is a regular, consistent goal scorer but not one who delivers a bag of goals.

This will need to be achieved by those featuring further down the list such as Eric Hipwood and Charlie Cameron. At the very bottom of the goal kicking Top 100 list Oscar McInerney, made it onto the list in season 2020, and was joined by Rhys Mathison, Lachie Neale and Zac Bailey who snuck in to share a very crowded ‘hot seat’.