The subject of Tasmania’s AFL expansion bid goes back 30 years to when the league was founded and it’s popped up in the news yet again.
Hawthorn, the club which has more 300+ game players that any other team in the AFL competition, will be hoping the decision to extend 38-year-old Shaun Burgoyne’s tenure for one more season pays off in season 2021.
They’re looking for Mr Silk to play close to the level that he has in his first 19 years of AFL football and help the Hawks back into the final eight for the eighth time in the last decade.
If he does, it would appear certain that he would play the 11 games required to make the 400-game milestone and give Hawthorn the opportunity to brag about having the most 400+ game players as well. Of course, unlike their first 400+ game player, Michael Tuck, who was a homegrown player who played his whole 426 games at the Hawks, (holding the mantel of greatest game-player of all time from Round 22, 1990 until Round 19, 2016) Burgoyne started his career at Port Adelaide and chalked up 157 games at Power before his move to the Hawks in a recruiting coup in 2010 – the start of Hawthorn’s most successful decade.
Despite being gone from Port Adelaide for over a decade, Burgoyne still held a prominent position of the Power’s top 100 game-players, only dropping out of the club’s top 20 as a result of Tom Jonas and Ollie Wines’ final appearance of the year in the preliminary final loss to Richmond. At Hawthorn Burgoyne sits in equal 18th position on the top 100 game-players list with Graham Arthur, who will always be remembered as the captain of the 1961 premiership team – Hawthorn’s first-ever VFL flag.
If Burgoyne does have a good year he could move a further three places up the Hawks list, ahead of Grant Birchall, John Kennedy Jr and Robert “Dipper” DiPierdomenico and even reach 250 games for Hawthorn.
He has played more games (232) than any other current Hawk and – while he still has two other 200+ games teammates in Liam Shiels and Luke Breust in the club – the next three most senior players: Isaac Smith (traded), Ben Stratton (retired) and Paul Puopolo (retired) have all departed, leaving only Jack Gunston and Ben McEvoy as the two other top 100 game-players with no new potential top 100s in sight. Gunston needs only four games to reach the 200-game milestone, whereas McEvoy should achieve 150 games before season’s end.
Goalkicking wise, Hawthorn could also brag about being one of only two clubs to have two current players inside the AFL’s top 100 goalkickers, albeit near the bottom of the list. Luke Breust sits in equal 97th position with West Coast’s Jack Darling on 408 goals while Jack Gunston (courtesy of 20 goals scored at Adelaide prior to his move to Hawthorn) sits alone in the hot seat (number 100) on 398 goals.
On the Hawthorn top 100 list, Breust is already top ten (in ninth position) and Jack Gunston needs five goals to match Alec Albiston in the tenth position. Further down the list Shaun Burgoyne sits in equal 47th position with Dipper, Liam Shiels sits in 73rd position and Ben McEvoy and Tim O’Brien share a very crowded hot seat with former players Chris Wittman and Mark Graham.