SKINNY colt Andrew Mackie was a dark horse in the 2002 national draft.
Not invited to the draft camp and an absentee from the national under-18 champs, Mackie had only played school football for Adelaide's Sacred Heart College and at SANFL reserve level for Glenelg.
So it was a surprise when the Cats swooped on Mackie with pick No.7 in a draft headed by Brendon Goddard and Daniel Wells.
Fifteen years and 267 games on, Mackie has carved out a thoroughbred career.
This weekend, he gets the chance to join an elite group.
Why the mini milestone matters
Mackie joins a seriously impressive club with 200+ career wins.
Hawthorn legend Michael Tuck leads all comers. He ended his marathon career with 42 more wins than his closest rival, Kevin Bartlett.
Silky midfielder Shaun Burgoyne heads the current-day players, only 10 behind the fifth-placed Dustin Fletcher in the overall list.
|Brent Harvey||North Melbourne||235|
|Shaun Burgoyne*||Hawthorn/Port Adelaide||224|
Like all players in the exclusive club, Mackie had the luxury of playing in good teams over his career, and his achievement also reflects Geelong's remarkable consistency.
The Cats have missed the finals just twice since Mackie's debut, in 2006 and 2015, and the courageous half-back collected premiership medals in 2007, 2009 and 2011.
Also on the 200 wins list are Mackie's former Geelong teammates Corey Enright, Jimmy Bartel and Steve Johnson, whose 200th win came in the Giants' last-gasp victory over Richmond.
Mackie (centre) with 2011 premiership teammates (l-r) Josh Hunt, Corey Enright, Tom Lonergan and Harry Taylor. Picture: AFL Photos
At 32, the former Glenelg teenager remains lean, if no longer skinny, and his career win percentage of 74.5 per cent is showing no signs of falling in his 14th AFL season.
Of course, for Mackie to reach the mini milestone, Geelong has to first overcome a firing Adelaide at Simonds Stadium on Friday night.
Who's next best?
The Cats' extraordinary run of three premierships in six years sees now-Bomber James Kelly and current captain Joel Selwood among the current players hot on Mackie's heels.
Fun fact: Tiger legend Jack Titus finished his career marooned on 199 career wins
|Sam Mitchell||Hawthorn/West Coast||195|
The Chaser: one more micro milestone in play in round 11
When he runs out against the Hawks on Thursday night, Brad Ebert will become the ninth Port Adelaide player to reach 200 games. Tackle nine Hawthorn players, and Ebert will also reach a rare career milestone of 1000 tackles.
Merely 28 players have reached the mark, with Sydney's Josh Kennedy the most recent addition three weeks ago.
The AFL's all-time tackling machine? Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis. He's recorded 1537 and counting, at a career average of 6.71 tackles per game.
Two other legendary hard nuts round out the top three.
|Matt Priddis||West Coast||1537|
|Lenny Hayes||St Kilda||1496|
|Andrew Swallow||North Melbourne||1416|
Text: Sarah Black | Designs: Kahla Emonson | Stats: Cameron Sinclair