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My 200th

Wow, 199 games of AFL footy have flown by. I’m into my ninth season and it only feels like yesterday I was kicking a ball around the backyard with my three brothers.

I’m looking forward to running onto Simonds Stadium on Saturday for a number of reasons and the milestone is just one of them.

Playing 200 games is probably something that means more to my parents, I’ve got my eye on the ball at the moment, but I’m sure they will be very proud of me. Whenever my brothers or I have reached a milestone like this it’s a good time to remember where we came from and think about our footy journey. There were certainly some tears along the way, but it’s a chance to give each other a pat on the back and acknowledge we are making a pretty good fist of it.

Looking back on what I’ve achieved so far, I’ll always be indebted to the coaches and players I’ve worked alongside. I was lucky enough to be drafted to the club I barracked for as a kid and idolised the players who became my teammates.  I worked hard to earn their trust and respect. They challenged me and I challenged them. I’m forever grateful for that.

It’s no different now. We’ve built a strong culture at the club and I genuinely love arriving for work each and every day. Not a lot of people could say that.

Being an AFL player is a challenge. I’ve learned over the journey how much energy you need to invest in yourself to ensure you’re delivering for the team on a consistent basis. You as an individual have a key role to play for the football club and that is to cross the t’s and dot the i’s to make sure you perform on game day.

joel 200 boots
My custom Asics “200th Boots”

Another thing I’ve come to understand is that when you think you’re going well, you’re probably not going that well and when you think you’re going badly, you’re not going that bad. You’ve got to stay on your toes in this game.

This has certainly been my most challenging year at Geelong from a win-loss perspective.  It’s the first time we’ve had to fight tooth and nail until the end of the season to claim a finals spot. But, I’m excited about how we are playing at the moment.

This time of year I love the most. You can see finals on the horizon, but you’re still aware there’s a process to go through. I feel our list is becoming healthy and we are hitting form at the right time. The boys are stepping up and we’ve been really hard to score against over the last three weeks.

Go Cats.