17/04/2024

Joel Selwood addresses his side. (Photo: Geelong Cats)

If you told Joel Selwood, the Bendigo boy with the ‘dodgy knee’ that when he walked into the Geelong Football club 15 years ago, he would eventually hold the Geelong games record, he wouldn’t believe you.

If you told Joel Selwood, the Bendigo boy with the ‘dodgy knee’ that when he walked into the Geelong Football club 15 years ago, he would eventually hold the Geelong games record, he wouldn’t believe you.

But this is the new reality for the longest-serving Geelong captain, who notches up game 333 this Friday night in the second Semi-Final, where the Cats face the Giants. 

He overtakes Geelong superstar Corey Enright, who played 332 games in the blue and white and won three premierships alongside his mate Joel.

And it seems almost fitting that Selwood notches up this impressive record in a final, a place where he and his side have starred in 14 of the last 15 seasons.

It’s all about durability, he insists. 

But just what makes Joel Selwood so durable? 

“I stay in the moment,” the 33-year-old said.

The country boy who was known for his dodgy knee in the 2006 draft wasn’t even going to be picked by the Cats.

If it wasn’t for Port Adelaide picking Travis Boak ahead of Joel Selwood, the story told here would be a very different one.

But the second he stepped foot into the Geelong Football Club, everyone knew he was right where he needed to be.

In only his first season in 2007, Selwood won a Premiership and the NAB Rising Star award. He was only 18.

Just two years later in 2009, Selwood would be selected in his first All-Australian team to go alongside his second Premiership medal and his first AFLPA Robert Rose Most Courageous Player Award.

In the years to follow, Selwood would go on to win another Premiership (2011), five more All-Australians (2010, 2013 Captain, 2014 Captain, 2016 Captain, 2017), three more Most Courageous Player Awards (2012, 2013, 2014), three Carji Greeves Geelong Best and Fairest medals (2010, 2013, 2014) and become Geelong Captain in 2012, the title he still holds to this day, as the longest-serving of the club.

And the number 14 is thankful for his wellbeing that has allowed him to achieve so much on his journey to game 333.

“It’s pretty special to get here. It means I’ve been here for a long time, but it also says I’ve been in good health,” he said.

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Selwood looked back on the moment he realised he could overtake his close friend and teammate Corey Enright on the all-time Geelong games record list, something Enright took the time to alert Selwood to.

“When Corey Enright was finishing up [in 2016], he pulled me aside after the season for a drink. He told me he was going to finish up. I told him to take more time,” Selwood said.

“He went out an All-Australian. That’s why I thought he had run left in his legs.”

But the team-first captain knows that this record, although one of the most important in club history, may very-well be broken by best friend and teammate Tom Hawkins.

And Selwood couldn’t be happier if that’s the case.

“I’m sure someone else will break it. I hope someone does. Big Hawk [Tom Hawkins] is going so well at the moment, it will be a record that won’t last for too long,” he said.

Upon reflection, Selwood knows that his durability is a testament to those who have supported his journey from within the walls of Kardinia Park.

“I send thanks to those people I work around. The physios and doctors, the sports and condition staff and all staff around the Geelong footy club that have made it a really good journey,” he said.

And he knows that it’s the special people behind the scenes who make coming in every pre-season for 15 years worthwhile.

“I am fortunate and lucky at this club, I’ve loved coming in and working not only on the weekend, but throughout the week with a lot of good people,” he said.

Joel Selwood leads his side out in round 10, 2021. Photo: Geelong Cats

Selwood is a leader who goes above and beyond in his role.

On or off the field, you will see the midfielder standing tall, supporting his teammates, his community and his club.

He leads from the front and doesn’t ask for anything that he wouldn’t do himself.

In today’s modern AFL world, with players and loyalties constantly changing, it’s refreshing to see a club-first man in Joel Selwood add yet another accolade to his already impressive resume.

“I’m grateful I’ve been able to do it all here at the one club,” Selwood said.

“I feel pretty lucky. It was a dodgy start, but it has been a ride I would love to do all over again.”

This Friday night, when the famous number 14 runs out for a record-breaking 333rd time in the blue and white hoops, he’ll remember those who came before him, lead from the front and pave the path for those who will come after him.

The way he’s always done it.

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