From the small town of Moggs Creek in Victoria to one of the biggest names in the game. When Patrick Dangerfield runs out onto GHMBA stadium, he’ll become the 99th player in AFL/VFL history to reach the 300-game milestone.
Known for his sheer power and ability to break open a stoppage with his speed and turn a game on its head in the process.
Dangerfield played 154 games for the Adelaide Crows, which included one best and fairest and three All Australian Blazers in 2012, 2013, and 2015. He then made the move back to Victoria where he has played 146 games for Geelong.
For Dangerfield’s former teammate Andy Otten, Dangerfield was the type of player that when playing alongside him you walked that extra bit taller.
“We all loved playing with him,” Otten told The Inner Sanctum.
“I think he was one of those teammates you kind of walk taller when he’s next to you just because you knew the effort he would give every time would be maximal. You can never question his effort every time he crosses that white line.”Embed from Getty Images
Otten and Dangerfield were both picked up by the Crows in the 2007 AFL Draft, but that pair knew each other from going head-to-head during the TAC Cup.
“We knew each other from playing against each other in the TAC Cup. Funnily enough, he actually tagged me in the game when we played them,” Otten said.
“Then draft day was Saturday, and we all met up at the airport on Sunday, I think it was about six other players who got drafted coming over from Melbourne.
“We kind of had a little bit of knowledge of each other. We had a bit of a pretty early connection with each other and looked after each other and helped each other out from pretty early on.”
Dangerfield spent most of his first year at the Crows in Victoria focusing on his schooling but would make the trip over to Adelaide during the school holidays.
Otten recalled one of Dangerfield’s first trips over to Adelaide that he still remembers to this day.
“He was very raw. It was a funny one because he was travelling back and forth for school to come back for holidays but even when he first came over in his first session, he got thrown on this bike and in this bike program and just didn’t have any idea how hard it was or how hard the training would be,” he said.
“He’s collapsed on the bike, we all remember that.
“Then the first week of his training, he had an early perception of training really hard which is good to have for him. He was a bull out of the gate, gave it everything early on with every drill and everything we did. [He] just jumped into everything head-on.”
Having been drafted together, Otten and Dangerfield spent a lot of time together at the Crows.
“I got on really well with Paddy, we had an early connection and a lot of time spent together. You know, he’s obsessed with fishing, so he used to take me fishing a lot. We caught nothing together mind you, so I think he’s a bit better now,” he said.
“He’s very genuine, a good thinker of the game and would talk about footy a lot and other teams and how everyone else is going. [He’s] really good, really passionate and thoughtful as well.”
One thing that sticks out for Otten about Dangerfield’s time at the Crows was the ability to just be himself and set up something for himself outside of footy.
“He was himself and I think that’s really important. He came over young and raw and he had a real passion for fishing and organising his life outside of footy,” he said.
“I really applaud him for that. He’s really passionate about having a hobby and I guess goals to achieve off-field and professionalism off the field, and setting up his life, his own individual brand.
“He was just a great teammate. Like the amount of times, we spent at his house, there was this coffee shop on the way home we used to go to pretty much after every training session with a group of us.
“He loved being around his teammates as well, he just went about it in the way he wanted to. Like he wasn’t a big drinker but he found his own way to connect with his teammates and we all got on really well with him.”
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Dangerfield set high standards for himself early on, trying to be the best he could possibly be which was evident both on the training track and game day.
“Early on, he had goals and where he wanted to get to as a footy player and he went about achieving those pretty early and then wanting to stamp himself as a player. That starts off with his training standards and how he went about his professionalism.
“He was right up there from an early age, [he] wanted to set the standards and some of the drills because he’s so hard around the footy. We almost had to pull him back a little bit and say ‘hey mate, settle down it’s only training this week’.
“Early on he wanted to get to the top echelon and he achieved that pretty early on in his career. He won a lot of the teammates over early just with the way he attacked the ball.”Embed from Getty Images
When Dangerfield made his debut for Adelaide against Essendon at what’s now known as Marvel Stadium, Otten was the one that made way for him in the side.
Both of them played a couple of games each towards the end of the 2008 season, which set the pair up for a strong pre-season.
“I played my second game, and the next game was in Melbourne and I thought it might be a chance to go play in front of a home crowd and they said no, we’re going to debut Danger,” Otten said.
“I was really rapt for him to be honest. I got my kind of two games, a taste and he got his two games as well. I think he played forward and kicked a goal early, which was great to see and I think that really helped us both in our first year of playing those two games.
“That really spurred us on for our next preseason, kind of competitive with each other. It really pushed each other in the next preseason and then his trajectory went a bit higher than mine but it’s great to see.
“Obviously a good friend for over a long period of time, you know, at each other’s weddings. [We’re] still in regular contact, [I] was at his house in the mid-season break so a great connection where we’ve kept throughout our whole life.”
Having to come up against Dangerfield once he made the move to Geelong was a difficult task but one moment that sticks out in Otten’s mind is the contest between Rory Sloane and Dangerfield in the 2017 Preliminary Final.
“When we played him, I was down back one game we had to match up on him. It was very clear early (I said to) Jake Kelly, ‘come over here and get on ‘Danger’ mate. I don’t want to go anywhere near him, [he’s] far too fast and powerful for me’,” Otten said.
“It was good fun. I think in a couple of games I played forward as well so I didn’t have to go near him too much.Embed from Getty Images
“What sticks in my mind is that game in a prelim at Adelaide Oval with him and ‘Sloaney’ [Rory Sloane] going head-on with each other. That stands out in my mind, the games we played against each other just two fierce competitors and really close mates, but both exemplify the way they both played is just head straight on the footy and it was a big collision.”
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