A beard too far: what’s a Dixie Cup between friends

In the 1970s in England Arsenal football fans would chant ‘Charlie, Charlie, Born Is The King Of Highbury’, in appreciation of their stunning inside-forward Charlie George. George scored the winner in the 1971 FA Cup versus Liverpool at Wembley.


On Easter Sunday the Port Adelaide Football Club unveiled their new Charlie, Dixon, to similar fanfare and pomp against St Kilda at Adelaide Oval in the first round of a key AFL season for the Power. A key season, because Port’s 2015 was generally woeful. While they beat Hawthorn twice and Fremantle, they lost to cellar-dwellers Brisbane and Carlton on the road. Such poor form cost the club a finals spot. 2016 for Port is all about re-gaining respect and a place in the finals. Sunday’s opponent St Kilda started the season with their own in-house goals and much to improve on.


Dixon, an admirer of Ken Hinkley, grower of copious beard and a heavy hitter on and off the park announced himself at Adelaide Oval with some bone-crunching tackles, dropped marks and a few grimaces, and ended with three goals courtesy of free kicks. It was a debut, that’s for certain, but does it answer any of the question marks hanging over Dixon’s year ahead? Not really. Yes, his bulk and frame will aid the Power up forward, and scare a few defenders unlucky enough to man him. His marking ability is very good, his kicking for goal solid. But, the question marks remain. Will his body, so addled with injury problems during his time on the Gold Coast hold true? Will his temperament keep him out of trouble? Will his off-field behaviour so heavily influenced by his rogue Gold Coast team mates respond to the Port Adelaide way? Hopefully, for Dixon’s ability to crash a pack, lay a solid tackle and be a focal point for Port as they push back up the ladder seems a sure thing. He adds depth to a concerning forward line that doesn’t always fire as one, and often relies on smalls like Robbie Gray and Chad Wingard to get the job done.


On Sunday Dixon officially joined the Port Adelaide family. The crowd roared as one when he went anywhere near the ball. His number will adorn countless black, white and teal footy jumpers from now on. And his presence was felt. But the jury is out still. A Showdown this week will be a more appropriate measuring stick, with the added pressure that comes with hometown bragging rights.


And if nothing else happens, it will be Dixon’s welcome addition as Port’s third member of the ZZ Top appreciation society, joining the equally bearded and hair-equipped Jackson Trengove and Justin Westhoff in celebrating the funky guitar slinging, blues boys from Texas that will keep the crowd, and media talking.



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