Hawthorn star Shaun Burgoyne has surpassed Adam Goodes as the most capped Indigenous AFL Player in the game’s history.
The 36-year-old played his 373rd game against the Kangaroos on Friday night and said he hopes to continue playing next year.
The Hawks lost the match, but Burgoyne remains on top with four flags (2004, 2013, 2014, 2015) since his debut in 2002.
However, his 17-year career is not over yet.
“I’m confident I can play another year, so we just have to work through what that looks like, but we just have to wait and see,” Burgoyne said.
His 373 games sit on top of some big names in recent years: Goodes (372), Andrew McLeod (340), Michael O’Loughlin (303) and Gavin Wanganeen (300).
Former Hawks teammate Jordan Lewis said the record represents Burgoyne’s dedication and love of the game.
“It’s a testament to himself and his family. He’s got four young kids. Anyone who has kids realises how hard it is, but then to be an AFL player and professional sportsman, what your wife and family take on is [huge],” Lewis said.
Another season in the AFL could see Burgoyne reach the magic 400-game mark, reached by only four other players: Brent Harvey, Michael Tuck, Kevin Bartlett and Dustin Fletcher.
Burgoyne’s club celebrated the milestone by organising a surprise get-together with some past and present Indigenous players.
Brownlow Medalist Gavin Wanganeen spoke, as fellow former players Che Cockatoo-Collins, Gilbert McAdam, Byron Pickett and others watched on.
“It’s really a huge pleasure to be here on behalf of all the current Indigenous players, past players, it’s a wonderful achievement, mate,” Wanganeen said.
“You should be extremely proud of yourself, what you’ve achieved, the family support you’ve got from Amy and the kids.”
McAdam said it gave him tingles looking around the room at the calibre of players who turned up to celebrate the achievement with Burgoyne.
“When I was playing that wouldn’t have happened, there just wasn’t enough Indigenous players going around. So, for the young kids to see and experience all that, it must inspire them,” McAdam said.