BIG Charlie is well and truly back.
After a disappointing past 18 months, Port Adelaide enforcer Charlie Dixon took another giant leap towards his best form on Sunday, kicking four goals in his team's impressive 21-point Marsh Community Series win over Brisbane.
Despite being a pre-season contest, Dixon had one of the toughest jobs in the game and was pitted against 2019 All-Australian defender Harris Andrews in an engrossing four-quarter dual.
With Steven Motlop (22 and three goals) running riot after half-time and Travis Boak (33) his usual prolific self, Port stunned the hosts to comfortably win at Burpengary's Moreton Bay Central Sports Reserve.
But it was the form of Dixon that will bring the biggest smile to the faces of Port supporters.
After breaking his leg late in the 2018 season, the 29-year-old battled to get back, playing the final nine games last year and showing only glimpses of his best.
He looked on-song from the opening minutes against the Lions, kicking a long bomb from 50m to open the scoring.
Dixon finished with 18 disposals and applied plenty of pressure (five tackles) to go along with his 4.3.
The physical presence of the 200cm, 105kg monster also brought the smaller forwards into the contest, with Motlop, Connor Rozee (two goals) and Xavier Duursma (two goals) all profiting.
Port Adelaide was clinical, making Brisbane look slow with its hunt around the contest.
Despite Lachie Neale's 46 disposals and 12 clearances – he was the best player afield - the Power dominated around the stoppages (51-44), translating it to an inside-50 advantage of 58-40.
While Dixon thrived at one end of the ground, Eric Hipwood showed flashes of his potential at the other, kicking three goals.
But it was a tough day for the Lions, not only struggling to compete with Port but also losing Marcus Adams and Alex Witherden to head knocks.
Brisbane: Like the team at large, the new Lions had trouble finding their feet. Former Sun Callum Ah Chee had to wait until midway through the second quarter for his first touch and finished with nine disposals for the day, while his backline mate Grant Birchall was a little more involved (13) but probably didn't quite have the impact he'd hope for. Cam Ellis-Yolmen (15) was busy in the midfield. All three will be better for the run with their new teammates and should improve next up.
Port Adelaide: He might have played only three quarters before a tight groin kept him from playing the last, but there was a lot to like about Mitch Georgiades. The No.18 pick from last year's NAB AFL Draft, Georgiades played forward and was a nice link from the midfield. He missed his two shots at goal, including one set shot after a nice lead and chest mark, but has a lot to build on from his nine touches.
Hugh McCluggage (MID, $678,000) has a hefty price tag but the fourth-year Lions mid looks like living up to it. McCluggage gathered 21 disposals, laid six tackles and kicked three goals. He'll play wing in 2020 and has shown he's a regular goalkicker.
Connor Rozee (FWD, $539,000) started his season with a bang. While it's always tricky locking in smaller forwards, the Power jet roams to the midfield and kicked two goals and added 19 touches and eight tackles against the Lions.
Brisbane now has a two-week break before it heads south to Melbourne to play Carlton at Ikon Park on Sunday, March 8 at 6.40pm AEDT. Port Adelaide has a similar break before it welcomes the Western Bulldogs to Bennett Oval in Whyalla on Saturday, March 7 at 3.40pm ACDT.
BRISBANE 2.3 3.5 6.5 12.5 (77)
PORT ADELAIDE 2.2 4.5 9.10 14.14 (98)
Brisbane: Hipwood 3, McCluggage 3, McInerney 2, Neale, Rich, Zorko, Rayner
Port Adelaide: Dixon 4, Motlop 3, Rozee 2, Duursma 2, Ebert, Butters, Hartlett
Brisbane: Neale, McCluggage, Hipwood, Zorko, Martin
Port Adelaide: Motlop, Dixon, Boak, Duursma, Powel-Pepper, Hartlett
Brisbane: Adams (head), Witherden (head)
Port Adelaide: Georgiades (groin)
Umpires: O'Gorman, Nicholls, Whetton
Official crowd: 2027 at Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex (Burpengary)