JACK Newnes is still in disbelief about reaching the 200-game milestone at AFL level.
Having been in and out of the senior side over the last two years, Newnes wasn’t sure if he would ever make it, but now on the eve of his 200th AFL outing, he looks back at his career with fondness.
“It’s a massive milestone: it kind of snuck up on me, I hadn’t thought too much about it,” Newnes said.
“I’ve sort of been in and out of the side this year and last year so I wasn’t sure if I was going to get there, but I’m here now and I’m really excited to go up against Freo.”
Newnes was drafted to St Kilda in the 2011 NAB AFL Draft and played an impressive 123 consecutive senior games from 2014-2019.
Newnes credits this period to be the foundation of his AFL career, building his habits and getting game time under his belt to hold him in good stead moving forward.
"I got a lot of games under my belt when I got [to the Saints]... I think I played 120 games in a row, which really built them up,” he said.
“That’s probably where I laid my foundations and found out what worked to be an AFL footballer and it kept me in good stead for the past 10 years.”
Moving to Carlton in 2020, Newnes played every game in his first Navy Blue season during the pandemic year, proving himself to his new teammates and coaches.
Ever the humble player, Newnes still shies away from the spotlight and even got nervous addressing his counterparts in a team meeting when asked to speak on his learnings over his decade in the AFL system.
“I actually just spoke in front of the group then, public speaking isn’t my strong suit, I got a bit nervous in front of my teammates,” he said.
“Just some basic things like hard work, knowing your role, playing your role and just earning the trust of your teammates.”
The after-the-siren goal against Fremantle will always be synonymous with Newnes, who ironically comes up against the same opponent in his milestone game this weekend.
However, the 29-year old is most proud of the trust he has been able to build with his teammates and coaches over his journey.
“If you think about the amount of people that get drafted to AFL clubs, not many get to 200 games so I’m proud of that,” he said.
“I’m proud of the fact that I can play my role and that my teammates trust me and respect me and the same as the coaches.
“I’m playing footy at the top level – it hasn’t been easy but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Having never played in an AFL final, Newnes maintains his September ambitions with the Blues ahead of a classic 'eight-point game' this weekend.
Newnes admitted that work is a little bit easier when things are going to plan and the side is getting the four points more often than not.
“I’m definitely not taking it for granted. Each week has given us a challenge at the moment, there’s been a lot going on, but I find myself in a position I’ve probably never been in in my career,” he said.
“I think AFL is a tough caper and at my time with the Saints, it probably wasn’t where I wanted it to be. We had a few reasonable seasons but it definitely makes it a touch easier when you’re coming in on a Monday and you’ve had a win and you can get to work on the following week.”