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‘Ed’s got character and integrity’

Veteran Carlton midfielder and AFLPA board member Ed Curnow will play his 200th game on Saturday afternoon against North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium. Curnow’s father-in-law David Buttifant was the Blues’ High-Performance Manager from 2013 to 2015, and penned this insightful piece for on why Curnow is ‘way more’ than just a footballer.

Words from David Buttifant

One day, my daughter Emily came home and said, ‘This guy has asked me to go out with him, he’s a footballer’.

‘Don’t go out with footballers,’ I joked, but the good thing was he was playing at Box Hill, where I played, too.

That footballer was Ed Curnow.

He was a nice guy, and I trusted Emily’s decision.

He was a little bit reserved initially, as most guys are when they meet their girlfriend’s parents, but he was very respectful.

He’s got a high energy level, and he’s one of those guys that’s just go, go, go.

We went away on a family holiday to Port Douglas and had some fun together. We went on a few runs and things like that, and he started to show his natural self.

When you know him well and you’ve worked with someone, too, you really see the true insights of their character, particularly having to juggle injuries, form, work-rate, family, having children, and being a Dad.

He’s driven; not just as a footballer, but also as a father and a husband. He’s studied throughout his career, which has set him up for life after footy as well.

He’d be reserved about any commentary around him. He doesn’t like things being all about him, which tells you he’s not there to gain any sense of notoriety.

In reality, he’s quite selfless as a footballer and a person.

In a game against the Bulldogs in 2014, he fractured his fibula.

He fell on the ground, he was in a fair bit of discomfort, but he said, ‘Just give me a bit of time and I’ll go back on’.

He went back on and played out the game, and it was his nonchalant attitude towards the injury — ‘No, I’ll be OK, I’ll push through’, he said — which illustrated the competitive nature in him.

He missed the next eight games with the injury.

That typifies him. ‘Yeah, no worries, I’ll get that done, I’ll knock it over’, he often says.

Nothing fazes him too much.

It was at the football club at the end of training, probably late afternoon, when I found out he was going to marry Emily.

‘Butters, I need to come and talk to you’, he said.

He was quite nervous, so I asked, ‘What’s going on, mate?’ He said, ‘Would it be OK if I asked Emily to marry me?’ I thought, ‘You don’t need to ask me, mate, the most important person you need to ask is Emily!’

I could really sense his twitchiness and anxiousness when he asked me, which isn’t like Ed at all and we still laugh about that moment.

He’s done an amazing job. 200 games, and he’s done it the hard way. He was a rookie at Adelaide and missed an opportunity there, but he came back to Box Hill and made it onto Carlton’s list that way.

His work ethic is second-to-none, he is very team-orientated, and he is selfless. 

But he’s not just a footballer. He’s way more than that.

He’s set himself up outside of football as well.

For a lot of young players, he’d be the perfect role model to follow.

When you’re someone who’s balanced, it has a positive influence. You need people like that in a football club, they’ve got a lot of currency.

Ed’s got character and integrity, and those are words I never use flippantly. When you’ve got integrity and character, it really shines through.

It’s his competitiveness, his work ethic and his self-belief. With those ingredients, you get longevity in your football and we couldn’t be prouder of the career he’s had and what he’s achieved.