200 up for gutsy Swan
We take a look at the best of Sydney Swan Jarrad McVeigh ahead of his 200th game
Jarrad McVeigh reaches game number 200 in career-best form
I didn't want to be a mediocre player, play reserves. I wanted to be a really good player and play senior footy and win grand finals
SYDNEY SWANS co-captain Jarrad McVeigh believes he has made his best ever start to a season as he prepares to play the 200th game of an AFL career that got off to a slow start.
After five rounds in 2013, 28-year-old midfielder McVeigh is in the upper echelons of Sydney players in several important statistical categories.
He is their leading goalkicker with 11, has the fourth most disposals averaging 25 a game and has the fifth most marks.
"I think it's been my most consistent start to a year, but it's only five games in," said McVeigh, who will play his 200th game on Sunday against Brisbane at the SCG.
"The really good players play it out for the whole year, but I do think I'm playing my best footy that I've played for a while.
"I think I've probably had my best pre-season running-wise and skill-wise."
Firmly established among the club's most important players, McVeigh admitted he didn't initially live up to the expectations of being a number five draft pick in 2002.
He missed out on the 2005 grand final and played just 13 games that season.
"I sat down after 2005 and the coaches were really disappointed in me and that really drove me to want to get better," McVeigh said.
"I didn't want to be a mediocre player, play reserves. I wanted to be a really good player and play senior footy and win grand finals."
He is closing in on the 232 AFL games his elder brother Mark played for Essendon and credited him for developing his competitive instincts in their youthful backyard battles on the NSW Central Coast.
"I learnt a lot from him and went to Essendon when I was younger and went to his training sessions," McVeigh said.
While he wanted to join Mark at the Bombers, Jarrad said he was thankful he ended up at the Swans.
Sydney's premiership defence has got off to a good start with the Swans boasting a 4-1 record going into their clash with the Lions.
"We're doing a lot of things right, but we can improve, which is an upside," McVeigh said.
"Sam Reid and Lewis Jetta are not in the greatest form, but we're still winning."