Geelong midfielder and AFLPA president Patrick Dangerfield will play his 250th AFL match against Hawthorn on Friday night. His great mate, Josh Jenkins, had put together a piece to give an insight into what makes ‘Danger’ so unique.
The great ones are unique beasts.
Dustin Martin jets off all over the globe every off-season to escape football-obsessed Melbourne, hanging out with world superstars such as Serena Williams.
Nathan Fyfe celebrates winning multiple Brownlow Medals by getting behind the steering wheel of his family’s road-train cattle transporter.
And this week’s milestone man, Patrick Dangerfield, would rather launch his boat into the waters off Geelong’s surf coast than down a few beers at the pub.
Perhaps their uniqueness is what makes them all so great.
Round two of the 2020 AFL season (yes, it’s been a long time coming) sees ‘Danger’ celebrate game 250.
Every off-season, the ‘Mayor of Moggs Creek’ collects accolades like they’re coupons out of the newspaper.
Seven All Australian blazers, four club best and fairest awards, a Leigh Matthews MVP trophy, a Brownlow Medal… you get the picture.
I began my career in Adelaide as Pat was blossoming into one of the premier midfielders in the competition.
Our friendship also blossomed away from the club as Pat has always been mature – or boring – beyond his years. At age 23, we spent most training-free afternoons at his place drinking cups of tea and watching him clean up after us before we’d even left the premises.
Myself, Pat and Tommy Lynch were a three-man band who were incredibly hard to separate.
On more than a few occasions we were given feedback about including others into our crew. But for the good of those others as much as ourselves, we kept the circle tight. I’m not aware of too many 20-to-24-year-olds who have any interest in the things we were doing in our spare time.
Rejoining Danger in Geelong has been an interesting change.
He’s responsible for two young children and seemingly has an empire building away from the footy field.
I have my own daughter to chase around and, even though we have far less free time to hang out, it’s like he never flew the coop and left us.
When Danger and wife Mardi were deciding on his future, I was always hopeful he’d remain a Crow.
Seeing the lifestyle he now lives on the Surf Coast, he was never ever staying in South Australia.
No doubt, he loved Adelaide and the 154 games he played for that club, but home is where the heart is and Moggs Creek delivers Danger everything he’s ever wanted.
Danger is a unicorn.
He can dive onto a loose ball, stand up in an instant and release a handball with a couple of hundred kilograms of opposition midfielder(s) hanging off him. He’s as good a ‘pound for pound’ pack mark as we have in the game and we get a glimpse a couple times per season at just how deadly he could be playing as a permanent full-forward (it’s just a shame he cannot kick straight)!
His will to be in the contest is relentless.
As a rival, I’ve always watched Geelong closely and whenever the Cats needed, it’s been noticeable to see either Joel Selwood or Dangerfield rise to the occasion.
With more than 100 stoppages in AFL games these days, contested ball winners can have such an influence over a game and few can do that in a more vigorous and dominant way than Danger.
His combination of speed, burst, strength and durability make him a generational player and I am proud to have had the opportunity to have played alongside him.
Reaching the 250-game milestone is something only 19 current AFL players have mastered.
As Danger joins that group this week against Hawthorn, the Cats fans will be sitting at home proudly applauding a local favourite who cut his teeth with the Geelong Falcons, mastered his craft in Adelaide with the Crows and returned home to explode into a Brownlow Medalist.
Pat has brought joy to fans across two clubs and incredible class on and off the field. It’s been a pleasure to be along for the ride.
Congrats to ’The Prez’ and our good mate, Danger on 250 sensational games – may there be many more!