Port Adelaide defender Ryan Burton is set to play his 100th AFL game against Carlton on the weekend.
The 25-year-old will run out onto the MCG on Sunday to play his 100th game. Starting his journey in league football with Hawthorn who took him with Pick 19 in the 2005 AFL Draft, his ability was evident from the outset.
His sublime foot skills, ability to read the play, and take on both big and small opponents while also being a driving force from his half-back position, all pointed to him having a long career at senior level.
After playing 47 games for the Hawks from 2016 to 2018, Burton found himself part of a trade deal that would see Chad Wingard move to Hawthorn. It would see him move in the opposite direction to Port Adelaide.
Burton a staple in Hinkley’s side
Thought to be part of the future with the Hawks, the move baffled many, as his talent was obvious. However, Port knew the type of player they were getting. Since he has put his injury troubles behind him that has only seen him play a full season just once since joining Port Adelaide, his ability has shone through.
Since arriving at Alberton, Burton has gradually gotten better. He is now averaging just over 20 disposals a game in 2022, which is slightly under his career-best 21 with Hawthorn in 2017.
Burton is becoming a staple of Ken Hinkley’s team with his supreme foot skills often being used out of the back half to set up forays forward.
Playing your 100th AFL game is no mean feat and Burton spoke to the media at Alberton today and gave his thoughts on playing the landmark match with his boyhood team.
“It means a lot to be playing my 100th,” Burton said.
“I grew up supporting Port. So being able to play this game for the club I barracked for and with the group we’ve got. I’m really looking forward to running out there.”
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Another interesting factor that will add to the spice on Sunday, is that it will be the first time that Port Adelaide will face former assistant coach Michael Voss. The former Lions champion has gotten off to a great start with Carlton this season.
Burton says that the team is relishing the chance to go against their former coach.
“We had a great relationship with Vossy so it’ll be good to go up against him,” he said.
“He’s come in and made a good impact with Carlton and they’re playing outstanding footy. So we’re going to have to be at our best.”
Still just 25-years-old, many will be hoping to see Burton continue his journey for many years to come. He recently signed a new deal which added another three years to his current contract. The new deal keeps him at Alberton until 2025.
Sunday is a huge game for Port. Not only because it is Burton’s milestone game, but also because of the ramifications that accompany the match.
Port Adelaide’s season is on life-support after a 0-4 start. Should they drop the game against Carlton and begin the year with an 0-5 record, the season will be done and dusted. Just five games in. There is a lot riding on Sunday’s result.
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