Kokatha-Warai man Shaun ‘Silk’ Burgoyne made history on Saturday night, becoming the first Indigenous AFL player to play 400 games.
The Hawthorn star is the fifth player in AFL/VFL history to reach the 400-game milestone, joining the likes of legends Brent Harvey, Michael Tuck, Dustin Fletcher and Kevin Bartlett.
Hawthorn was taken down by Port Adelaide 53-87 on Saturday night who Burgoyne played 157 games for before crossing over to Hawthorn at the end of 2009.
Former teammate Travis Boak and Hawks premiership teammate Liam Shiels chaired Burgoyne off through a guard of honour between both teams in a touching show of respect after the game.
The four-time premiership player told reporters after the match it was “humbling” to reach the 400 milestone.
“It’s been a big week and an enjoyable one. It would’ve been really good to get the victory tonight but Port Adelaide were far too good, it’s the way things go sometimes,” he said.
“[The 400-gamers] are legends of the game and I had a chat with them during the week and they’re good people. It’s pretty humbling to be in a mini-club with those guys.”
Burgoyne credited his long career to the people around him.
“When you surround yourself with good people and great medical advice and people have great faith in you, it gives you a lot of confidence to chase your dreams and keep playing footy at the highest level. I couldn’t be in better hands.”
Tributes of all sorts poured in on social media for the 38-year-old Hawthorn legend to mark the occasion.
A t-shirt was also created in a House of Darwin X Puma collaboration to celebrate ‘the Silk’, with the artwork being created by artist Luna Tunes and Burgoyne’s family. Proceeds from the shirt went into House of Darwin’s social programs in remote indigenous communities.
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Hawthorn currently sits at 17th on the ladder and will face Fremantle at 10th position on Saturday.
By Teisha Cloos