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Teammates celebrate Lewis on special milestone

As Jordan Lewis lines up for his 300th AFL game this weekend, two former and one current teammate pay tribute to the Melbourne star.

Tim Sheringham (Geelong Falcons teammate and captain)

I reckon I met Jordan in the under-16s at Geelong Falcons. I remember he was a fierce leader as a kid and demanded high standards of his teammates. He was an early developer and was a big boy at 16, 17, 18 and I reckon he would’ve weighed more than compared to what he does now.

He had a weapon of a left foot and his versatility was his biggest asset. At the Falcons, we played him on every single line — anywhere back, forward or through the midfield even as a key position or a smaller player. The only position he didn’t play was in the ruck.

It took time to get to know him because the boys from down in the Hampden league were a fair way from the Geelong league players. But it was clear from when I did get to know him that he was a leader and the boys who would travel on the two-hour bus trip to training would echo that statement.

I connected with him because of those leadership qualities that he had. I was driven to be a leader and he was a great help to me in that regard.

Sometimes you can have kids at that level and think they might’ve developed too early and recruiters will think that they’ve peaked.

And as we were making our way through the junior ranks, there was a real emphasis on AFL clubs drafting athletes rather than footballers and Jordan probably bucked the trend there because he was a footballer.

He wasn’t blessed with pace, endurance or anything like that. He was a footballer who knew where to find it — he would’ve collected more than 40 touches on numerous occasions in the TAC Cup.

He was such a good ball-user, which is what he brought into the AFL system with all those Hawthorn players when they won their flags. They were genuinely the best ball-users in the competition.

off the field, he was jovial and rowdy as you would expect from people who are more mature than others around their age. I haven’t spent a huge amount of time with him off the field but on the odd time I have had a beer with him. He’s your usual country lad, I guess.

I had an inkling that he’d become as good as he is because of what he was able to do at TAC Cup level but you never quite know how good anyone is going to be — there have been high draft picks who haven’t made it and also low ones who have become stars.

I knew he’d be up for a pretty long career if he could keep his body together, which he clearly has done. He was a vocal leader but he was also one who led by example — he was always hard and tough, which he has maintained throughout his AFL career.

He hasn’t looked back since those days.

Campbell Brown (Hawthorn premiership teammate)

I remember when I met all three of Buddy, Roughie and Jordan when they all came to the club on the same day. Jordan was a chubby kid from Warrnambool. He was pretty confident and settled straight away.

I got along with Jordan really well immediately. We had a lot of fun in the first couple of the years. We moved in together at the start of 2007 and through 2008 — we were thick as thieves early days. He was good fun to be around and enjoyed having a good time. He trained hard, was tough and slotted into AFL footy quickly.

When we lived together, he was extremely tidy — almost OCD like — which I didn’t expect. He was a good cook, much better than what I was. He used to get angry because whenever it was my time to cook, I’d always get takeaway!

He was a great decision maker from a young age. He knew what to do with the ball in his hands. His hardness was something we, as a footy club, needed early days and Jordan, along with Hodgey and Mitch, brought about that hard edge. Jordan was the poster boy for unsociable football in a way.

He had plenty to say, even from a young age and was a good sledger who backed it up with his actions. We new early on that those guys were special players.

It would’ve been a bit easier for Buddy and Roughie to get a game early because we didn’t have many key forwards but it was tough to break into that midfield, there were still some good players in there, but Jordan managed to slip straight in.

Even as an 18 or 19-year-old, he wasn’t afraid to say what he thought. He spoke up in team meetings and gave instant feedback out on the field. He was a good leader and evolved into an important leader for Hawthorn later on and you can see what he’s done for that Melbourne group as well.

He had a lot of rascal in him early days, Hodgey did too, and that’s what probably attracted them to the group because they were country boys who enjoyed a good time.

He’s mellowed a lot over the years. Jordan’s a family man now and has his hands full with the kids. He loves golf and still enjoys a good time except he’s a fancy red wine drinker now instead of a slab of VB or whatever we used to drink back in the day.

He’s laidback now and is enjoying his footy. He’s had plenty of success and there haven’t been many in the game who have achieved what he’s done. He’s won four flags and best and fairest in a premiership year as well, which is a crowning feather.

My most vivid memory of Jordan on the field was that game at Etihad Stadium where Jarrod Harbrow knocked him out when he was running back with the flight of the ball.

That was the biggest hit I’ve ever seen and one of the biggest in modern football. It was only nine years ago but there was no concussion rule back then so he went back out on the ground.

The game he played in the Grand Final in 2014 was outstanding, too. He was firmly in the game for the Norm Smith Medal and could’ve easily have pipped Hodgey that day.

You always need a bit of luck to play that much football and he’s been unbelievably durable, I can’t think of any major injuries that he’s had — he’s missed more footy through suspension than injury.

You always knew he’d be a 200-game player but the fact he’s gotten to 300 is a credit to him. In the last six or so years, he’s managed to change his body shape. As a midfielder, he identified that, to play the modern game, he needed to cover the ground as much as possible.

Jordan was always pretty thickset but he stripped right down to play at the level he has recently.

Cameron Pedersen (Melbourne teammate)

I first met Jordan when I was 18 while playing for Box Hill and he came down to play a game with us. I had four years of doing a full pre-season with Hawthorn as part of the Box Hill Football Club so I’ve known Jordy for a while now and our wives also went to university together.

My first impressions of him were that he’s confident and had a bit of swagger but he’s a great team man who sees the game really well. He has high standards of people around him so he expects a lot of others but he’s very giving. He’s also very organised.

I played against him when I was at North and he’s a bit lippy out on the field. There isn’t much you can say back to him because he’s done it all — besides the fact that he’s a bit bald.

Jordy was always very approachable and was never one to always hang around the senior guys. It probably is a bit of a drag having VFL players hanging around you all the time but he made me feel very welcome.

At the Demons, we were okay defensively in the past few years but never scored a lot but the last couple of years, we’re averaging a lot more points per game and Jordan’s brought a lot of experience and drills to help us.

He’s good at pulling the guys in during a drill and explaining what’s working well and how it relates to game day — I think he’ll be a very good coach one day.

He’s not the quickest or the strongest but he’s such a good competitor.

He’s a jovial guy who has a good balance between being serious and knowing when it’s time to have fun.

Despite the fact that he has three kids, you wouldn’t know because he still prepares really well and doesn’t come in looking tired or miss any sessions. I think anyone at the club would say he’s a good person to have around.

One thing you might not know about him is that he puts black powder in his hair, which he’ll hate me saying, to cover up his baldness. One of my favourite things, though, is when he did a  shocking TV commercial where he was pretending to drive a car for car dealership in Warrnambool when he was younger.

He likes pranking people by telling them they have to see a particular coach in their office to stitch them up. He’s also very good at wheeling and dealing — he knows everyone. We’ll go to the airport and end up getting some free stuff out of someone.

He’s an extremely well connected person and an organised networker. The Australian Open will be on so someone will come next door to the club and Jordy will end up getting free tickets out of them.