Richmond vice-captain Brett Deledio will become the youngest player in Tigerland history to reach the 200-game milestone, when he lines up against Greater Western Sydney at Spotless Stadium on Saturday.
Deledio will be 27 years and 37 days old, which means he will eclipse Richmond ‘Immortal’, Kevin Bartlett as the youngest Tiger to play 200 games of league football.
Bartlett was 27 years and 179 days old when he chalked up his 200th in the final home-and-away round of the 1974 season.
Deledio also will reach the 200-game milestone quicker than any other player in Richmond’s history, at nine years, two months.
The dual Jack Dyer Medallist has missed just eight games since debuting for the Tigers in the opening round of the 2005 season, aged 17 years and 343 days. Four of those games he was sidelined for were this year, due to an Achilles injury, which broke a run of 140 consecutive matches by him.
Deledio’s durability has been matched by his form consistency in nine completed seasons at the game’s highest level.
In his 2005 debut season, he won the AFL’s Rising Star award and then, in 2008-09, he captured successive Jack Dyer Medals.
He’s also finished runner-up in the Club’s Best and Fairest twice (2011, 2012), third on one occasion (2010) and fourth once (2013).
“I’ve been blessed with the injuries that I’ve had thus far . . . good genes, I think, from mum and dad. They’ve looked after me, there,” Deledio said.
“It’s (the 200-game milestone) not something that I’m thinking about too much at the moment.
“There’s obviously more pressing issues with how our team’s playing. But it’s something I’ll be pretty proud of once I’m finished.”
The top-10 list of young Tigers to reach the 200-game milestone is:
Brett Deledio: 27 years, 37 days
Kevin Bartlett: 27 years, 179 days
Wayne Campbell: 27 years, 318 days
Joel Bowden: 27 years, 333 days
Bryan Wood: 28 years, 14 days
Matthew Knights: 28 years, 208 days
Kevin Sheedy: 28 years, 227 days
Dale Weightman: 28 years, 280 days
Francis Bourke: 29 years, 143 days
Mervyn Keane: 29 years, 261 days