Petrie charging towards 300 AFL games

Drew Petrie is blessed to have the ideal role model showing him that there’s plenty of AFL life beyond 300.

The North Melbourne key forward enters his 16th season at the top level, just seven games shy of the celebrated milestone.

Nick Dal Santo became the 71st member of the 300 Club in North Melbourne’s preliminary final loss last year to West Coast.

But those two impressive records of longevity are put into context when stacked up against teammate Brent Harvey, who will bound into the 2016 campaign just 17 matches shy of Michael Tuck’s all-time record of 426.

“Instead of getting to 300 and thinking you might only have a few more games left, Boomer has made me realise you can actually keep playing for many years more,” the 33-year-old Petrie told AAP.

“As soon as I hit 28 or 29, people were saying ‘oh, you’re coming to the end’ but he was 32 when I was 28 and he’s just ploughed on to where he is now and he hasn’t slowed down at all.

“It’s made me realise that the finish isn’t in sight.”

Harvey, 37, has readily signed single-season contracts for each of the past six years, backing himself to remain a key member of the North Melbourne team.

It’s an example not lost on Petrie.

“I’ve never heard (Harvey) talk about retirement or what might come after football work-wise,” he said.

“It’s always about how he can get better next week, reviewing his game.

“I’ve picked up on that and used it in how I approach my training.”

Petrie also paid tribute to Dal Santo, who had enjoyed a new lease of footballing life since crossing from St Kilda a couple of seasons ago.

“Nick is younger than me and, if he hadn’t hurt his hamstring last year, he would have passed 300 in the first part of the season,” said Petrie.

“For him to reach such a milestone at 31 is a testament to how good a player he has been and how good he’s been since the day he got drafted.

“He’s still highly motivated to play on beyond the next couple of seasons, too.”

Petrie made an impressive start to 2016, booting four goals in the Kangaroos’ opening NAB Challenge win last weekend over St Kilda.

He’s ready and willing to play in each of the remaining two pre-season games against Collingwood and Hawthorn, if called on by coach Brad Scott.

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