Shaun Burgoyne as soon as pointed to Brent Harvey and Dustin Fletcher as proof age is irrelevant if an AFL player retains performing.
Half a decade later, the 38-year-outdated Hawthorn champion has proved his contain principle moral in an era when the opponents has by no means been more demanding.
As a result, Burgoyne is on the cusp of elevating himself into certainly one of football’s most elite clubs, becoming a member of factual four other players in reaching 400 AFL/VFL games.
Most effective Harvey (432), Michael Tuck (426), Kevin Bartlett (403) and Fletcher (400) have achieved that feat in 125 years.
Boomer, Tucky, Hungry and Inspector Gadget can finally add Silk to their society of football superheroes when Hawthorn take on Burgoyne’s former membership Port Adelaide on Saturday night.
“These guys are legends of the game, they’re all icons of the game, and in no way must calm I have my name talked about with those guys … that’s a bit embarassing,” Burgoyne said on AFL 360 this week in typically self-effacing manner.
“Tucky and Kevin have been a bit before my time, however those other two I watched play as a young child.
“They gave me a bit of a goal; in the occasion that they can play that long, so can I.”
Anyone who has witnessed Burgoyne’s career over the past two decades will argue the four-time premiership star sits comfortably alongside those men.
Burgoyne changing into the primary Indigenous player to reach 400 games makes his achievement all the more notable.
“He’s an amazing ambassador for the game, not factual as a player, however as an Indigenous man who devices an implausible example for all our Indigenous brothers and sisters,” former Hawks assistant coach and Western Bulldogs premiership mentor Luke Beveridge said, adding his name to a long list of admirers saluting Burgoyne this week.
Burgoyne’s AFL career began in 2002 with Port Adelaide, where he played 157 games and starred in the 2004 flag alongside older brother Peter.
A trade transfer in 2009 ended in an important role in Hawthorn’s upward thrust to changing into the opponents’s pre-infamous force and a hat-trick of premierships from 2013-15.
The switch almost didn’t happen amid fears in Victoria over Burgoyne’s longevity because of a dodgy knee, however a drawn-out task was eventually settled when the Hawks and Energy struck a complicated deal that fervent Essendon and Geelong.
“Things happen for a reason,” Burgoyne said.
That reason may as neatly have been on-discipline success.
At Hawthorn, the tricky, skilful and versatile team man snappily cemented his reputation as a colossal-game player who would step up in the biggest moments.
Few have been more important than the famous goal that sunk Geelong in the 2013 preliminary final, guidance the Hawks to the season decider against Fremantle that would inaugurate their golden escape.
“If I can be reliable, dependable … that’s what I wanted for my teammates, to understand that they may belief me in those colossal games,” Burgoyne said.
It wasn’t factual a quirk of fate that allowed Burgoyne to play his milestone match against his former membership.
The veteran was managed last week as the medical replace, lightening his load to accumulate him via to an ideal fixture wherein to mark the occasion.
It has been a similar tale at the back of the scenes over the past decade or so, with Burgoyne admitting to a “quality over quantity” way at training between games.
The medi-sub wasn’t even a consideration for the AFL when Burgoyne made his debut as a skinny teenager, however is factual certainly one of many changes he’s witnessed across 20 seasons at the pinnacle level.
“The principles have changed, the form of play has changed … the entirety has changed and you factual have to adapt to it,” Burgoyne said.
SHAUN BURGOYNE’S CAREER SO FAR
DEBUT: 2002 (Port Adelaide v St Kilda, spherical three)
GAMES: 399 (Port Adelaide 157; Hawthorn 242)
GOALS: 301 (Port Adelaide 171; Hawthorn 130)
PREMIERSHIPS: 4 (Port Adelaide – 2004; Hawthorn – 2013, 2014, 2015)
ALL-AUSTRALIAN: 1 (2006)