He’s been questioned from the start of his AFL career right up to his 200th game, but Sydney co-captain Kieren Jack has invariably found the right answers.
The Swans midfielder reaches the double hundred milestone against Geelong on Friday, but it’s a mark he didn’t expect to attain when he made his first tentative steps into senior footy nine years ago, playing just two senior games in his first season.
Following in the footsteps of a famous sporting father is never easy.
Jack had the added burden of trying to prove he was proficient at a different code to rugby league, the sport in which his dad Garry excelled and was considered one of the best of all time in his position.
“I remember coaching him in the reserves when he was a little back pocket player and there was a lot of question marks on him as a young player coming through,” Sydney coach John Longmire said.
“He’s been able to defy those critics and have a wonderful career to this point and he’s still playing really good football.”
Jack has produced a winning and engaging style, both on and off the field, and the latter was never more evident than in the past week.
Grilled by the media over a family feud, Jack answered his interrogators politely and with admirable composure and eloquence, earning the thanks and admiration of several members of the media pack.
Now in his fourth season as a co-captain no-one doubts Jack’s leadership qualities, but they weren’t obvious when when he started at the club, according to Longmire.
“I didn’t see it from early on,” Longmire said.
“But what comes out over the period of time is he’s a very tenacious person and player and he’s able to apply himself and he’s got some great athletic qualities.
“But his ability to be able to get better and better and better and keep improving himself all the time is a real credit to himself.
“He’s a player that has grown up in Sydney and NSW and had some challenges as far as learning the game from an early age.
“But he’s grasped it with both hands and done a wonderful job so far and he’s still got plenty of great footy left in front of him.”