AFTER flirting with a northern AFL Cairns move over the summer, South Cairns skipper James Dixon is focused on being a part of the Cutters side that breaks its premiership drought.
Dixon, who finished fourth in the Crathern Medal last season, held lengthy discussions with reigning premiers Port Douglas in the off-season but decided to remain at Fretwell Park under new coach John Tootell.
South Cairns has not lifted an AFL Cairns premiership since 2003 and the powerful runner and clever forward’s decision to remain with the club was based around changing that.
“I spoke to Coops (Port coach Brad Cooper) a lot at Port Douglas but South have done everything right by me since I have come to Cairns so I thought I would repay the faith to them,” Dixon said.
“I have played in premierships before moving to Cairns but we have got blokes like Damien Dewis and Jermaine Wardle at the footy club who have not yet.
“As a club, I know we are so close to getting there, we just need to break that next barrier and I would really like to be there when these guys win their first premiership.”
The South Australian has been used as a utility in his time at the Cutters, thrown on the ball as well as playing up forward, and is enjoying working with Tootell.
“With a new coach and new structures, we have taken lots of positives from the first two rounds,” Dixon said.
“With Toots, it is just completely new structures, lots of stuff that we have not done around the club before.
“With Toots having different experiences from clubs down south, the guys have really bought into his plans and we have brought in a couple of fresh faces to help boost morale. Everyone is fit and healthy, which really helps too.”
The Cutters welcome the top-of-the-ladder Cairns Saints, who will be without wiry defender Kieran Daley, to Fretwell Park this afternoon as they aim for two wins in a row.
Cutters had the wood on Saints last season, winning all three of their meetings.
In the other Round 3 contests today, Cairns City Lions host Centrals Trinity Beach at Holloways Beach in their first home game of the season.
“It will be a good challenge for us,” Lions playing-coach Aaron Davey said.
“We are really excited to be able to play our first home game of the season in front of a big crowd after three games away from Holloways.”