Shaun Burgoyne is set to surpass Adam Goodes for the most VFL/AFL games by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander player.
The four-time premiership player will mark his 373rd game on Friday night when the Hawks take on North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on Friday night.
He has spent 18 seasons at the top level and at 36 shows no signs of slowing down. The Hawthorn utility has missed only four games this season and both the club and player have indicated they would like to negotiate a contract extension.
Burgoyne made his debut with Port Adelaide in 2002. He played 157 games for the Power and was part of Port’s 2004 premiership side.
He was named in the 2006 All-Australian team.
In 2010, Burgoyne joined Hawthorn and played a signature role in the Hawks’ premiership years, winning flags in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Given his ability to make the impossible look easy, the ‘Silk’ nickname is fitting.
Burgoyne has amassed 287 goals with 35 AFL finals appearances, the second most of all time behind Michael Tuck.
He was an inaugural member of the Indigenous Players Advisory Board when it was established in 2011 and currently serves as chairman.
Burgoyne is also a mentor to Indigenous teammates at Hawthorn including Chad Wingard.
“He really helped me early on, especially with the pressure to come here and perform straight away,” Wingard said.
“For the Indigenous community, I think he has shown what you can strive for.”
“He’s impacted the game in so many ways. He is a true role model to look up to.”
Despite being the oldest player in the AFL, Burgoyne is still crucial in the Hawthorn’s 2019 season as the Hawks push towards another finals campaign.
“His passion for the game is still as strong as ever,” Hawthorn captain Ben Stratton said.
“The way he talks about the game – it’s been his whole life.
“I think he might have a few years left in him as well which is the scary thing.”