Silk has eye on record
SHAUN Burgoyne had one simple question for Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson on the first day of his 19th pre-season.
The veteran Hawk — who is as legendary as he is versatile — wanted to know where he would be training.
With the defenders? The forwards? Or perhaps in the midfield.
“I couldn’t get an answer,” Burgoyne said.
“I asked Clarko where am I going to do my pre-season and he didn’t say.
“I’ll just jump over all the different lines in pre-season I think and when the games come around, he’ll tell me where I’ll play.”
That is the beauty of Burgoyne. At 36 and after 358 games, the man they call “Silk” is still good enough to play anywhere.
And while Hawthorn has made a habit of squeezing out its champions as they slowly wear out, Burgoyne hasn’t considered giving football away.
“I don’t want to enter the season as if it’s going to be my last,” he said.
“I’ve never done that and I think that can bring a whole set of negativity around your mindset.
“That can affect your preparation and, for me, it’s openended when I finish — whether that’s one game, one year or two years, I don’t know.
“But when that time comes, I know I’ll be happy with what I’ve been able to do and what I’ve achieved.
“I can’t allow any negativity to enter my mindset — but it’s coming at some stage.”
Burgoyne has played 132 out of the past 139 games — a couple of hamstrings cost him games this year — but 2019 shapes as a big season for him.
Burgoyne is just 15 games away from breaking Adam Goodes’s indigenous record of 372 games, which he could achieve in Round 16 against Collingwood.
“He [ Goodes] is obviously one of my idols,” Burgoyne said.
“He’s a friend and his record is something that is outstanding for him and for indigenous people across Australia.”
Then, after that, the question will hone in on whether Burgoyne can play on in 2020 — and become just the fifth player in VFL-AFL history to play 400 games. Burgoyne is open to it. “It’s a question I get asked a fair bit — will you get to 300? Got to 300, will you get to 350? Got there, now will you get to 400?” he said.
“It’s a possibility, but I’m not banking on getting there. I just want to get through pre-season this year and then every game as if it’s my last.”
And why wouldn’t he be open to it.
Burgoyne was feeling fresh on Monday and did not require post-season surgery.
Instead he went on a family holiday to Disneyland and Hawaii before joining draftee Jacob Koschitzke on the track, who was yet to blow out two birthday candles when Burgoyne made his AFL debut.
I don’t want to enter the season as if it’s going to be my last. I’ve never done that and I think that can bring a whole set of negativity. SHAUN BURGOYNE