PORT ADELAIDE coach Ken Hinkley has described Charlie Dixon’s one-handed mark in the first quarter of Saturday’s game against Essendon as one of the best marks he’s ever seen.
Dixon held off an opponent with one hand and jumped backwards to claim the mark with the other in an extraordinary effort given the wet conditions.
It was one of the highlights of the 50-point win over the Bombers.
Speaking on Fox Footy’s AFL 360 program on Monday night, Hinkley said it was incredible.
“I said in the box, that’s one of the best marks I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen lots of footy,” he said.
“The degree of difficulty in that mark is just remarkable with what he was able to do in really slippery conditions as well.
“He has got big mitts as everyone knows but that’s an incredible catch.”
Dixon has been in fine form this season, booting 31 goals from 15 games as a beacon in the Port Adelaide forward line.
The 200cm big man leads the competition for contested marks this season with 43 at an average of 2.9 per game.
The 29-year-old celebrated his 150th AFL game at the weekend, and Hinkley was full of praise for his key forward.
“We wouldn’t be near the side we’ve been so far this year without Charlie,” he said.
“He creates a crowd, he attracts them and he’s happy to sit there and take two or three over him all week, every week.
“His contested marking is a real treat and his numbers would stack up in any year, in any season, in any competition, he’s just been outstanding at that.”
Port guaranteed a top-two finish and two home finals with the win over the Bombers but Hinkley said there was still some work to be done to ensure it wins the minor premiership and goes into finals in good shape.
He said he wanted his team to beat Collingwood at the Gabba on Monday night to finish the season strongly.
“It’s not so much fine-tuning, we’ve got a big game coming up,” Hinkley explained.
“We’d like to finish the year off really strong.
“We’ve made no secret that we’d like to leave the side as open as possible for people who are playing well and we’ve had a match simulation game on Sunday morning with some really good form in that.
“We like the competition for spots, I think it’s kept us in a really good position all season so like every team at this stage of the year, we know what our best looks like but we’re not sure that we haven’t got someone else that might surprise us.”
Port has not played finals since 2017 when it lost a heartbreaking elimination final to West Coast.
Asked whether he was better prepared this time around, Hinkley was forthright.
“I’ve got a better team, that’s one thing for certain that gives you confidence in the boys that they’re ready to give themselves a good account,” he said.
“Our last finals game in 2017 was against West Coast in an extra time final where we lost to a kick after the extra time siren.
“We’ve shown that we can play finals football, as brutal as it can be, but we look forward to this year’s opportunity.
“We’ve earned it and we deserve it so I hope that we can go out and play in a manner that suggests we’ve been on top for the whole season.”