The Courier-Mail

Suns fight to keep Dixon and his bad ankles rolling

- ANDREW HAMILTON

THE Suns say key forward Charlie Dixon will be a 15 to 16 game-a-season propositio­n for the rest of his career because of loose ankle joints in both feet.

Dixon will miss today’s clash with Essendon because of the ankle injury he suffered in last week’s loss to Richmond.

However, coach Rodney Eade expects him to be available for next week’s game against Port Adelaide.

The powerhouse forward is out of contract and in hot demand from the Brisbane Lions and the Power, who are said to be prepared to pay him more than $3 million over five years.

The Suns want Dixon to stay on the Coast but have refused to enter a bidding war.

It has emerged they do not feel Dixon will ever be able to string a full season together because of especially loose ankle joints that are prone to rolling.

AFL statistics show Dixon has been subbed out 10 times since the rule was introduced.

That figure puts him among a group of players to have worn the red vest the most.

He is in his fifth year in the AFL and has played 63 games, which means he fails to finish every sixth game he plays.

There have also been occasions, such as last week, when he could not run in the second half but could not be taken off because the sub had already been activated.

Eade said they hoped to be able to improve Dixon’s completion rate with a program they intended to implement over summer.

But he said there was no surgery to fix his condition and they were resigned to having him miss six or seven games each season.

“We’ve got some things in place … that hopefully can improve it,” he said. “There is some hope, genuine hope.

“It is just the way he is made, his joints are actually pristine so it is not going to be one where he will miss half a season.

“The trick will be once he starts in a game to be able to play it out and to try to get 15 or 16 games a year out of him.’’

It came as a slight surprise to many Suns observers that Dixon was not named to take on the Bombers.

While often subbed out or limping at the end of matches, he generally recovers quickly.

“He will recover quicker than anyone from rolling his ankle or any episode, but he will feel the lower end of the scale more than others as well,” Eade said.

“It is tough because he wants to keep pushing through it. It is just unfortunat­e.”

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