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Walker's 200th history in making

Andrew Walker will on Saturday night become Carlton's first Indigenous player to play 200 games. (Photo: AFL Media)
Andrew Walker will on Saturday night become Carlton's first Indigenous player to play 200 games. (Photo: AFL Media)

Eighty-five years after Alf Egan became Carlton’s first Indigenous footballer to run out, Andrew Walker becomes his people’s first 200-game player in Dark Navy.

Walker is one of 15 Indigenous players to have followed Alf on the journey – amongst them the one-game former Melbourne forward Sean Charles and Eddie Betts, who gave his club 184 grand games before relocating to Adelaide.

He also becomes the competition’s 18th 200-game Indigenous player, joining an elite core which includes Chris Johnson, Peter Matera, Lance Franklin and, of course, Betts, with five more players – Adam Goodes, Andrew McLeod, Shaun Burgoyne, Michael O’Loughlin and Gavin Wanganeen – all Indigenous members of the 300 club.

Andrew Walker's legendary mark against Essendon in 2011 will forever be cherished by the Carlton faithful. (Photo: AFL Media)

Doubtless Walker will take to the field  with justifiable pride, for few are more proud than him that the AFL is flying the flag for the nation’s Indigenous.

“It’s come a long way,” Walker said in a previous interview of the League’s respect for the land’s original keepers. “It’s so good to see there’s that recognition out there now for the Indigenous players in the AFL. They bring a different element to the game the way they play their football.

“I’m extremely lucky I’ve been able to get my hands on the Walker family history to understand where we’ve all come from. We can trace it back to the Cummeragunja, that’s how far back it goes. It obviously means a lot to me.”

Walker’s grandfather Archie sat in the stands at the old Carlton ground on Anzac Day 2004, when Walker completed one of the more spectacular first-up showings in the match with West Coast at the old Carlton ground.

In reflecting on that maiden senior appearance, Walker said what he remembered most was lining up on another Echuca boy, Michael Braun, the 228-game West Coast premiership player.

Only seems like yesterday that Walker’s name was called with Carlton’s first selection (he was one of the three priority choices of the 2003 National draft) at No. 2, between Adam Cooney (Western Bulldogs/Footscray) and Colin Sylvia (Melbourne).

Carlton’s Indigenous footballers, 1931 -

Andrew Walker - 199 games, 139 goals 2004 - *

Eddie Betts - 184 games, 290 goals, 2005 – 2013

Syd Jackson - 136 games, 165 goals, 1969-1976

Chris Yarran - 119 games, 90 goals, 2009 - 2015

Justin Murphy - 115 games, 105 goals, 1996-2000 & 2002-2003

Jeffery Garlett - 107 games, 183 goals, 2009 - 2014

Mark Naley - 65 games, 74 goals, 1987-1990

Cyril Mann - 42 games, 65 goals, 1939-1942 & 1945

Troy Bond - 36 games, 26 goals, 1994-1995

Alf Egan - 36 games, 20 goals, 1931-1933

Cory McGrath - 50 games, four goals, 2004-2006

Joe Anderson - 17 games, 0 goals, 2007-2010

Liam Jones  - 15 games, 15 goals, 2015 - *

Clem Smith - 7 games, 0 goals, 2015 - *

Rod Waddell - five games, two goals, 1981-1982

Sean Charles - one game, 0 goals, 1998 

VFL/AFL Indigenous footballers 200+ games

Adam Goodes (Sydney) - 372

Andrew McLeod (Adelaide) - 340

Shaun Burgoyne (Port Adelaide/Hawthorn) - 309*

Michael O’Loughlin (Sydney) - 303

Gavin Wanganeen (Ess/Port) - 300

Darryl White (Brisbane) - 268

Chris Johnson (Fitz/Bris) - 264

Peter Matera (West Coast) - 253

Nicky Winmar (St Kilda/Western Bulldogs) - 251

Jeff Farmer (Melbourne/Fremantle) - 249

Eddie Betts (Carlton/Adelaide) - 242*

Danyle Pearce (Port Adelaide/Fremantle) - 239*

Daniel Wells (North Melbourne) - 235*

Lance Franklin (Hawthorn/Sydney) - 234*

David Wirrpanda (West Coast) - 227

Peter Burgoyne (Port Adelaide) - 225

Leon Davis (Collingwood) - 225

Chris Lewis (West Coast) - 215

Michael Johnson (Fremantle) - 209*

Graham Joncock (Adelaide) - 206

Byron Pickett (North Melbourne/Port Adelaide/Melbourne) - 204

Antoni Grover (Fremantle) - 202

*still playing