After lining up on Dustin Fletcher in the Essendon icon’s rookie season 22 years ago, Sydney Swans coach John Longmire is astonished his old adversary is still going and able to play good football at 40.
Former Kangaroos key forward Longmire 44 retired after the Kangaroos 1999 premiership win.
This weekend 40-year-old Fletcher is expected to play his 400th AFL game.
“My kids have seen some footage of me actually playing on Dustin Fletcher and it wasn’t actually black and white footage,” Longmire joked on Monday.
“They can’t believe that I played on Dustin because it seemed like an eternity ago that I was playing league football and he’s still running around as a 40-year-old.
“It’s quite extraordinary to see him.
“I played on him in 1993 and to see him still running around is just one of the great stories in football.
“He’s still playing really good footy. I just can’t believe it, it’s quite amazing.”
Longmire retired at 28 having endured two knee reconstructions and found it hard to believe that anyone in the modern game could play on to Fletcher’s age.
“I never thought that anyone could get to 40 years of age and still be playing,” Longmire said.
“I’m only a little bit older than that, not much mind you and I’m struggling to walk around let alone play AFL footy so it’s just an amazing feat.
“His resilience level to be able to do it mentally and physically week-in, week-out would probably be hard to repeat.”
Longmire’s former Kangaroos teammate Brent Harvey is set to become the next player to reach the 400-game milestone.
Harvey, who turned 37 earlier this month, is on 392 games.