If good things really do come in threes Callum Ah Chee will be a happy man on Saturday. And three will become four and five. And more.

Set to play against his former club Gold Coast in Q-Clash #25 at Carrara on Saturday afternoon, Ah Chee is coming off a career-best performance against Geelong last Saturday and the first birthday of son Iver on 14 July.

Another good showing and a win against the Suns will set the 25-year-old up for a good run into September after a frustrating 2023.

Coach Chris Fagan admits he has been ‘impatient’ about getting Ah Chee, who has played only Rounds 10-14-16-19 at AFL level this year, into his top side on a consistent basis.

“Every time we’ve gone to pick him he’s had a soft tissue or something else. And when did get him in and played well against Richmond (in Round 16) he got concussed. So I was really pleased for him to come in and do what he did (against Geelong).

“He’s such an honest performer. He played a super game – kicked a goal at a really important time – and got the reward after been working really hard on his game for quite some time.

After starting his 2023 campaign in the VFL after an injury-disrupted lead-in,  Ah Chee has not played more than three weeks in a row at any level in a season that ticks over to round 20 this week.

Three byes (two at VFL level), a concussion and two one-week injuries, coupled with limited game time when he was the starting substitute in two of four AFL outings, have combined to deny him any sort of reasonable momentum.

A real heart and soul member of the Lions playing group, Ah Chee stands to be a potential benefactor of the devastating knee injury that ended Will Ashcroft’s season last Saturday, which will free up more game time through the midfield, wing and half forward.

Fagan admits he had originally toyed with using Ah Chee at half back but after his excellent showing against the Cats conceded his heart is in playing forward and wing.

It is the role for which Ah Chee, a product of WAFL club South Fremantle, was originally drafted with high expectations by the Gold Coast Suns in 2015 by now Brisbane list manager Dom Ambrogio.

Pre-Draft scouting reports on AhChee said: “(He) is among the most skillful players in the draft, boasting brilliant use by foot. He can pinpoint short passes on both sides of his body, kicks accurately at goal and can make space for teammates by clever passing.  The 18-year-old separates himself from some of his fellow draft hopefuls with his aerial exploits. Despite being only 182cm, Ah Chee has a big leap on him that gives him another way to get into the game.”

So highly was he regarded he went at pick #8 behind Jacob Weitering (Carlton), Josh Schache (Brisbane), Callum Mills (Sydney), Clayton Oliver (Melbourne), Darcy Parish and Aaron Francis (Essendon) and Jacob Hopper (GWS).

Among those who were drafted after him were Carlton spearheads Harry McKay (#10) and Charlie Curnow (#12), Brisbane’s Eric Hipwood (#14), Richmond’s Daniel Rioli (#15), GWS’ Harry Himmelberg (#16) and the Western Bulldogs’ now-Lion Josh Dunkley (#25).

In four years at the Suns from 2016-19 he played 45 games, and only one in 2019 due to injury woes. He’d enjoyed only eight wins – five in his first season.

Married to ex-Cairns girl Laura Hanlon, daughter of former Tasmanian representative footballer turned AFLQ development ace Rick Hanlon, he was keen to stay in Queensland. So, already well-known to Ambrogio, who had joined the Lions in February 2017, he sought a fresh start up the highway.

After the Lions traded a future second round pick and a future fourth round pick for Ah Chee he packed up his guitar and melodic singing voice, popular among the Brisbane playing group, and moved to the Gabba.

Set for his 65th Lions game on Saturday, Ah Chee will hope to bank his 50th Lions win and defend an unbeaten Q-Clash record for the Lions against the Suns.

After a 1-4 Q-Clash record for Gold Coast, he is 6-0 in Lions colours in the Q-Clash, and celebrated his 100th career game against the Suns in Round 19 at the Gabba last year with a 17-point win.


Ah Chee became just the third player to play for the Suns and the Lions in the Q-Clash when he moved to Brisbane, following Irishman Pearce Hanley and current teammate Jarryd Lyons.

Four other players have play for both clubs without doing so in the Q-Clash – Tom Berry, Andrew Raines, Michael Rischitelli and Jared Brennan.

There is also a Brisbane presence in the Gold Coast coaching staff in 94-game Lion Josh Drummond.

In his fifth season at the Suns after six years coaching at North Melbourne, Drummond had stepped away from the senior coaching group to take charge of the Suns VFL side this year, wanting the experience of his own side. But following the sacking of Stuart Dew and the appointment of Steven King as caretaker coach Drummond is back coaching the Suns midfield.

The Lions will take an 18-6 record into Q-Clash #25 and a nine-game winning streak.

Their last loss to the Suns and their only loss to their near-neighbours in 12 games under coach Fagan was a five-point heart-stopper in Round 5 2018 at the Gabba, when Cam Rayner had a last-minute shot for goal which could have tied the scores.

Dayne Zorko, already two games clear of teammate Daniel Rich and the Suns’ David Swallow on the all-time Q-Clash games list, will play his 22nd game against the Suns on Saturday.

The Broadbeach junior, zoned to the Suns but traded to the Lions ahead of the 2011 AFL Draft, is also the all-time leading Q-Clash possession-winner all-time with 430, ahead of Swallow (417), Rich (395), ex-Lion Tom Rockliff (371) and Hanley (351).

Charlie Cameron needs only one goal on Saturday to become the leading Q-Clash goal-kicker all-time. He has 27 goals in nine games, equal with ex-Suns forward Tom Lynch. Zorko (20), Eric Hipwood (19) and Gold Coast’s Alex Sexton (18) are next best.

Jarryd Lyons has most Q-Clash Brownlow Medal votes with 12, from Hanley (10), Rockliff (9), Dayne Beams (9), Gold Coast’s Brayden Fiorini (7), Brisbane’s Simon Black (6) and Gold Coast’s Touk Miller and Gary Ablett (6).

Lions young gun Jaspa Fletcher, the Round 19 nomination for the AFL Rising Star Award, will play his first Q-Clash. He will be Brisbane’s 109th different Q-Clash player – the Suns have used 115.