Geelong’s latest milestone man Harry Taylor had an inauspicious start to life in the AFL.
Taylor was taken with pick No.17 in the 2007 national draft, an occasion generally preceded by a sleepless night.
The West Australian missed the fuss, waking-up to 84 missed calls including one from unimpressed Cats coach Mark Thompson.
“He said quite abruptly – why haven’t you been picking your phone up?,” Taylor recalled ahead of his 200th match.
“I tried to sort of muddle my way through the story.
“I’d put the draft on the backburner a little bit.
“I was 21 … in my third year of studying physio at uni and we had about 16 exams.
“We had an end of year physio ball after exams, which was the day before the draft.”
Fellow veterans Andrew Mackie, Jimmy Bartel and Corey Enright have celebrated meaningful milestones this season.
At the MCG on Sunday, when Geelong hope to defeat Richmond and clamber back into the top four, it will be Taylor’s time in the spotlight.
It is a position the 30-year-old is not entirely comfortable with, despite being one of the best defenders in the league.
Bartel described Taylor as quiet, intelligent and caring earlier this week.
Taylor is undoubtedly a family man, which is why 2013 presented a challenge for the two-time premiership winner.
Taylor opted to sign a five-year deal with the Cats but only after being actively pursued by Fremantle.
“My family was growing and getting to a stage where school and those sort of things had to be considered,” he said.
“My wife and I are both from WA. All our family is there.
“We had to weigh up all those type of things. It was basically a pretty direct conversation with her and family, to work out where our life was going to go next.”
Taylor attributed his development to the likes of fellow defenders Enright, Matthew Scarlett, Tom Harley and Darren Milburn.
“I tried to hang around those guys as much as I possibly could, probably to the point of stalking,” Taylor said.
“I know I learned best from watching.”
The key defender prides himself on educating the Cats’ young defenders in the same fashion.
“I feel like I’m having more influence on the group this year,” he said.
Taylor is upbeat the Cats are within striking distance of another flag but added they must improve if it’s to happen in 2016.
“Our good is very good and our average is pretty average, so if we can close that gap, play a little bit more consistent and get some good form going into the finals, who knows?” Taylor said.
“It is going to be one of the most open finals series we’ve had in a while.”