THE extraordinary record of Geelong captain Joel Selwood is enough to bring a tear to the eye of two Melbourne players he is likely to come up against at Simonds Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Since making his debut in round one of the 2007 season, Selwood has played 149 games for the Cats and has won 123 of them, which equates to a winning percentage of 83.
Compare that to the record of Demons onballers Nathan Jones and Colin Sylvia, who are also due to play their 150th games this weekend. Since making his debut in 2006, Jones has won only 25 per cent of the matches he has played in. Sylvia has fared little better, winning only 48 of his 149 games.
"I am proud of what I've been able to achieve," Selwood told the AFL Record. "But I'm really thankful for the people I've had around me, who have helped me achieve those things.
"I will think about the milestone for a little while, but come Saturday afternoon I won't be thinking about it too much. We obviously have a job to do. We've got ourselves in a position where we're playing some pretty good footy, and it's a challenge to go out and do that again."
Selwood's footballing resume must be a source of frustration for the six clubs that passed him over in the 2006 NAB AFL Draft. In his six and a half seasons at the Cattery, the 182cm midfielder has won a NAB Rising Star award, a Geelong best and fairest, played in four Grand Finals, won three premierships and been appointed club captain. And he only recently turned 25.
"The Grand Finals stand out in my memories, and I played in a NAB Cup premiership, which was pretty special as well," Selwood said. "But I have loved seeing so many other players come to the club and make their mark. I think I've run out alongside 60 or 70 players now, so I'm getting to that stage where I'm an old bloke around the place."
Selwood has played in 16 finals matches so far in his career. Jones and Sylvia, meanwhile, have featured in only two finals each.
"Joel's been inspirational, and it's amazing to think that he's been that way since he came into the club," Selwood's teammate and vice-captain Jimmy Bartel said. "Everything he does – his work ethic, his courage, how hard he is at the ball – is first-class. He's just a natural leader.
"I'm still amazed these days at how well he plays. When he was younger I kept forgetting that he was only 19 or 20 years old, because he knew what needed to be done. He's an incredibly driven bloke."
But, as Chris Scott pointed out during his midweek press conference, Selwood isn't someone who spends much time dwelling on what he has already achieved. Instead, he has his heart set on leading Geelong to another premiership later this season.
"He's still a young man, an extremely young captain, and he's optimistic about what he can achieve and the way he can drive this football club into the future," Scott said. "I think that in his mind 150 games is a nice, small milestone along the way. But he's got bigger fish to fry. For someone as well-credentialed as Joel as a 25-year-old, that an admirable attitude."
BEST WINNING PERCENTAGES (MIN. 149 GAMES)
83% - Joel Selwood (Geelong 2007-) - 149 games, 123 wins, 26 losses
79% - Charlie Hammond (Carlton 1905-09, 1914-18) - 154 games, 120 wins, 32 losses, 2 draws
78% - Gary Buckenara (Hawthorn 1982-90) - 154 games, 119 wins, 34 losses, 1 draw
78% - Andrew Mackie (Geelong 2004-) - 187 games, 145 wins, 42 losses
77% - Harry Collier (Collingwood 1926-40) - 253 games, 193 wins, 56 losses, 4 draws
WINNING PERCENTAGES OF TWO OTHER MILESTONE MEN
32% - Colin Sylvia (Melbourne 2004-) – 149 games, 48 wins, 99 losses, 2 draws25% - Nathan Jones (Melbourne 2006-) – 149 games, 37 wins, 109 losses, 3 draws