Burgoyne says AFL veterans show the way

Hawthorn star Shaun Burgoyne has pointed to AFL evergreens Brent Harvey and Dustin Fletcher as proof that age is irrelevant if a player keeps performing.

On Friday night, Burgoyne will become only the fifth indigenous player to reach 300 games when the Hawks host in-form Adelaide at the MCG.

Hawthorn aim to make history as the second AFL team to win four-straight premierships by taking out this year’s flag.

One of the keys to that mission is the performance of their four 30-plus stars – Burgoyne, captain Luke Hodge, Sam Mitchell and Josh Gibson.

At 37, Harvey has played 413 games and the North Melbourne legend is just 13 away from Michael Tuck’s all-time record.

Fletcher retired at the end of last season with 400 games, putting him fourth on the list.

“Mitch is doing a pretty good job for us, isn’t he – in career-best form,” Burgoyne said of Mitchell.

“Hodgey and Gibbo are playing pretty good footy as well.

“It’s not really about how old you are … if you can pull your weight and handle everything that’s coming, then who knows how long players can go for.”

Burgoyne admitted to excitement about reaching 300 games, saying he never thought he would make it to the milestone.

He played 157 games for Port Adelaide, including the 2004 premiership, alongside older brother Peter.

Shaun then moved to the Hawks after the 2009 season and has become an even better player, starring in their three premierships.

“I consider myself very lucky to play at two clubs,” he said.

“I consider myself a Port Adelaide and a Hawthorn player.”

He joins Adam Goodes, Andrew McLeod, Michael O’Loughlin and his old Port teammate Gavin Wanganeen as 300-game indigenous players.

Of the other four, Goodes and McLeod are two-time premiership players.

Burgoyne, 33, is yet to sit down with coach Alastair Clarkson and Hawks football manager Chris Fagan and discuss whether he plays beyond this season.

“That conversation will happen at some stage – whether it’s a good one or a bad one, we will wait and see,” he said.

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