West Coast coach John Worsfold believes Dean Cox is a “good chance” to reach the magical 300-game mark, saying the ruckman could potentially play on for another three AFL seasons.
Cox, whose current deal runs out at the end of next season, will notch his 250-game milestone in Sunday’s elimination final against North Melbourne at Patersons Stadium.
After 12 years at the elite level, the 31-year-old remains at the peak of his powers and is in the mix to add to his five All-Australian guernseys this season.
The picture is in stark contrast to when Cox first arrived at the club via the rookie draft with pick No.28 in 2000.
Back then, Cox struggled to reach the fitness levels required of an AFL player.
But a dedicated work ethic soon changed all that, with Cox now possessing one of the best aerobic tanks ever displayed by a ruckman.
And with Cox’s form and fitness still in good touch, Worsfold said the 300-game mark was well within the veteran’s reach, even if it meant playing on until 2015.
“I would expect he would be a really good chance,” Worsfold said.
“He’s in the echelon of great players at this football club now. He’s still got a lot of football left in him.
“At 31, we’ve seen ruckman go on to 33, 34 years of age.
“(Ben) Hudson this year … Dean Brogan has still rucked pretty well last year and this year and they’re a couple of years older than Coxy.
“There will be opportunity (for Cox) to play on for another two or three years.”
Cox hasn’t missed a game in the past three seasons, and said sharing the ruck load with team-mate Nic Naitanui had helped ease the load on his body.
“It means I’m not going to 70 or 80 contests, I’m averaging about high 40s or 50 each game,” Cox said.
“So it certainly helps for later on in the year and to prolong your career as well.
“When you’re 31, it’s all about how the body is.
“So if the body can withstand another season and pull up really well, then I think I’ll still have the hunger and desire to continue to play.
“But having said that, I won’t play just to notch up games. It’s all about if I can have an impact on the ground, then I’ll continue to do it. Otherwise I’ll finish.”
North Melbourne need little reminding of Cox’s abilities after the premiership ruckman booted three goals from 21 possessions in West Coast’s come-from-behind victory over the Roos in round 15.
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