Dixon one of Highlanders' 'old guard'

Elliot Dixon
Elliot Dixon
Highlanders loose forward Elliot Dixon has become part of the furniture - he has graduated as far as being the sheriff around the side.

Dixon (28) is into his eighth season with the Highlanders.

When he looks around there are few players left from when he started with the side in 2011.

``There is Lima [Sopoaga] and he is leaving. There is Bender [Ben Smith] and Nuggy [Aaron Smith] and Colty [Liam Coltman] was in my first pre-season but he wasn't in the full squad,'' Dixon said.

``So there is about four of us in the old guard. I think it has changed for the better. In the first three years I think we were just a team which were happy to be there or thereabouts.

``We had really good starts, six or seven games we would win. Then we wouldn't win a game after that and miss out of the semifinals.''

Dixon, who has played 80 games for the Highlanders, said Tony Brown arriving in 2014 loosened things up and calmed Jamie Joseph down a wee bit.

So have the years led to him being more respected by his team-mates?

``I wouldn't say respect. I'm as much as a jokster as anyone else. I'm more of a jokester than the first years.

``Looking back it seems like a long time. But it has gone pretty fast. If you had said to me eight years ago I would be playing eight seasons for the Highlanders and 80 games, I would never have believed it. I think I played two games in the first two years.''

Dixon's longevity with the Highlanders inevitably leads to talk of him heading offshore at the end of the year. He is off contract and with an All Black jersey to his name he could be an impressive acquisition for an overseas club.

He played a straight bat when commenting on his future.

``I still have to do what is best for my family. If that is staying in New Zealand, then we'll stay in New Zealand. If it is going overseas, then we're going overseas. I am not focusing on that at the moment. I'm just focusing on having a good season with the Highlanders.''

Dixon had moved into a sheriff role with the side, in charge of dishing out fines.

``We've got fines for lates, and punctuality. So I'm actually the sheriff. I'm supposed to be doing it with Richard Buckman but he has been really lazy. I have got the first fines coming in so everyone better be on time or they'll be doubling.''


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