Secret notes: What Cats great recorded over 13 years
Not long after he was drafted from East Fremantle to Geelong in the 2007 national draft, Harry Taylor wrote down some goals.
Taylor's early ambition was to play 150 AFL games with the Cats, so he could secure a life membership with the club.
"I have always been very process driven and goal-orientated and I wrote down some goals not long after I got drafted," the recently-retired defender said.
"I wanted to play 150 games because that would allow me to become a life member of our footy club.
"At the time, 150 games was our life member number. I wasn't a life member of anything at that age and I knew people who were and I always saw that as a real sense of achievement, a real sense of hard work and loyalty all coming together.
"I remember putting that goal down and very fortunate to have played a few more games than that and had some success along the way."
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Securing not only life membership at the Cats, the champion backman was this week named among 12 new AFL life members to be inducted in March for their services to the game.
Taylor called time on his career after the grand final loss to Richmond last year following a career which spanned 280 games and delivered two premierships (2009 and 2011) and two All-Australian jackets (2010 and 2013).
He kept a meticulous record of all the key moments of his career in 13 years' worth of journal entries in a collection of 20-odd diaries.
"I have got 13 years of books with different stories, different notes and things that I have been doing a bit of reflecting on," Taylor said.
"They are not the flashest looking things, all handwritten so old school as in the school books that you might remember when you were in primary school.
"I am always constantly referencing different things in there, trying to find little motivations and reflecting on how I did things once, or how I played on a certain player before.
"Certainly, since I've finished I have been referencing them a lot more.
"I remember one of the significant pieces I wrote before my first game - we played Essendon of Round 2, 2008 - it was my first game of AFL footy and I wrote the night before how I was feeling and what things I needed to focus on.
"I wrote another one a couple of days before my last game which was Grand Final 2020 and what is really significant to me is that things I was focusing on way back in my first game I basically wrote down the exact same things 13 years later that I was still focusing on.
"I hadn't read the first piece then copied it, it was basically just a reflection of my mindset at two different times in my career - 13 years apart, 280 games apart, but the commitment to a purpose and real clear values was exactly the same with everything that had happened in between. I guess that is something that I find satisfying and something that I am really proud of."
Taylor's two premierships with the Cats were clear highlights, but he said he has had just as much enjoyment reflecting on the "little moments" which made his AFL journey memorable among his many diary entries.
The 34-year-old has moved back to Western Australia since his retirement and has signed to play with his junior club Northampton in the Great Northern Football League this year.
"I started my football journey a bit later than most coming in at 21 and to be able to play 300 total AFL games is something that I'm very proud of," Taylor said.
"I'm going to go back to where it all started and just try to help out and play a few games if I can."
- REBECCA WILLIAMS
NEW LIFE MEMBERS
AFL life members to be inducted in March
Arrived at the Cats as a father-son selection as the son of "Jumping" Jack Hawkins in 2006, but has evolved with his own nickname as the "Tomahawk" as one of the most damaging forwards in the league. Hawkins has played 277 games for the Cats, kicking 603 goals, and is a nine-time club leading goalkicker. He was a premiership player in 2009 and 2011 and is a three-time All Australian (2012, 2019 and 2020) and reigning Coleman medallist.
277 premiership games for Geelong Cats, kicking 603 goals.
24 pre-season games for Geelong Cats.
2 x Premiership Player for Geelong 2009, 2011.
3 x All Australian 2012, 2019, 2020
9 x Club Leading Goalkicker 2012 - 2020
1 x Coleman Medallist 2020
1 x Club Best and Fairest 2012
1 x State of Origin for All Stars 2020.
The wiley defender who once took on the task of trying to learn all the capital cities of the world retired after 280 games with Geelong following last year's Grand Final loss to Richmond. Taylor played in two premiership teams with the Cats in 2009 and 2011 and was also a dual All-Australian in 2010 and 2013 in his 13-year career. Rates Jonathan Brown, Nick Riewoldt, Barry Hall and Josh Kennedy as the toughest forwards he played on.
280 premiership games for Geelong Cats, kicking 75 goals.
27 pre-season games for Geelong Cats.
2 x Premiership Player for Geelong Cats 2009, 2011.
2 x All Australian 2010, 2013.
2 x International games 2014, 2015.
Jim Stynes Medallist 2015.
The former Carlton captain enters his 16th season in the AFL this year after making his debut with the Blues in 2006. Sitting on 285 AFL games, Murphy can bring up the 300-game milestone this season. Son of former Fitzroy great John Murphy, the veteran midfielder has now played more games than his father did in his 246-game league career.
285 premiership games for Carlton, kicking 189 goals.
23 pre-season games for Carlton.
2 x Best and Fairest 2011, 2017.
1 x All Australian 2011
2 x International games 2008.
Captain 2013 - 2018.
A one-time star junior batsman, Hurn could have quite easily taken a different sporting path after holding a rookie contract with the South Australian Cricket Association in 2004. He has gone on to be mentored by Australian cricket coach Justin Langer throughout his football career and enters 2021 needing to play just 14 games to bring up his 300-game milestone. Nicknamed 'Bunga', Hurn missed West Coast's 2006 premiership, which came in his debut season, but captained the Eagles to the 2018 flag.
286 premiership games for the West Coast Eagles, kicking 50 goals.
22 pre-season games for the West Coast Eagles.
1 x Premiership Player for West Coast Eagles 2019.
2 x All Australian 2018, 2019 (VC).
Captain 2015 - 2019.
Continues to fly the flag for Tasmania as one of the game's great nursery grounds for AFL stars. Arrived in the AFL as 'the cousin of Nick Riewoldt', but has since built an equally impressive resume complete with something his St Kilda relative never got - premierships. Riewoldt now has three flags, and has won Richmond's goalkicking award a staggering 10 times. Multi-talented, Riewoldt is also an accomplished golfer and rose to international fame after getting up on stage and singing 'Mr Brightside' with rock band The Killers after the 2017 Grand Final.
283 premiership games for Richmond, kicking 664 goals.
19 pre-season games for Richmond.
3 x Premiership Player for Richmond 2017, 2019, 2020.
3 x All Australian 2010, 2015, 2018.
3 x Coleman Medallist 2010, 2013, 2018.
2 x Club Best and Fairest 2010, 2018.
2 x International games 2010.
1 x State of Origin game for All Stars 2020.
Coming off a second-place finish last year behind Brisbane's Lachie Neale, Boak is Port Adelaide's all-time leader in Brownlow Medal votes with 139 - 43 ahead of No.2 on the list, Robbie Gray. Last season, when he polled 21 votes, was the best Brownlow result of Boak's 14-season career.
283 premiership games for Port Adelaide, kicking 179 goals.
20 pre-season games for Port Adelaide.
3 x International games for Australia 2014, 2017.
2 x Club Best and Fairest 2011, 2019.
1 x State game for Victoria 2020.
Captain 2013 - 2018.
Recently retired Port Adelaide swingman Westhoff is the only footballer to have been drafted at pick 70 or later in the national draft since 2002 to have played at least 250 games (Brian Lake was taken with the same selection in 2001 and reached 251). Westhoff finished his career on 280 games, ranking him third all time at the Power, behind Kane Cornes (300) and Boak (283).
280 premiership games for Port Adelaide, kicking 313 goals.
23 pre-season games for Port Adelaide.
1 x Club Best and Fairest 2018.
Those not old enough or with shorter memories might forget Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley's playing career, which included two All-Australian selections while at Geelong. The second of those came in 1992 when he finished third in the Brownlow Medal, behind Scott Wynd and Jason Dunstall, and won the Cats' best and fairest in a season they made the grand final.
132 premiership games for Fitzroy and Geelong Cats, kicking 79 goals.
Five pre-season games for Fitzroy and Geelong Cats.
Three State of Origin games for Victoria 1991, 1992.
1 x Club Best and Fairest 1992.
2 x All Australian 1991, 1992.
178 premiership games coached for Port Adelaide.
Clarke, now the Crows' AFLW senior coach and Adelaide's men's ruck mentor, holds an unwanted playing record - he has lined up in the equal-most preliminary finals in VFL/AFL history without winning one. The former ruckman featured in five - with Brisbane in 1996 and 1999, and the Crows in 2002, 2005 and 2006 - during his 258-game career. Western Bulldogs great Brad Johnson shares the record with Clarke.
258 premiership games for the Brisbane Lions, Adelaide Crows and St Kilda, kicking 38 goals.
25 pre-season games for the Brisbane Lions, Adelaide Crows and St Kilda.
4 x State of Origin games 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999.
1 x Club Best and Fairest 1997.
15 AFLW games coached for Adelaide Crows (Premiership Coach in 2019).
A fullback in Richmond's 1980 premiership triumph, Dunne was a more than handy footballer in a career that spanned a decade and saw him finish his career with Footscray. But he is perhaps better known for his work off the field both in football and in the police force. A former assistant commissioner of Victoria Police, Dunne received Australia Day Honours in 2011. He spent time as a reserves and ruck coach at Richmond in the 1990s, was an AFL Tribunal member for two decades and has been a club director at the Tigers since 2016.
129 games for Richmond and Footscray, 1976-85, kicking 63 goals.
Footscray Reserves Captain/Coach 1986
Springvale (VFA) player 1987
1980 Premiership (Richmond)
1987 VFA Premiership (Springvale)
Footscray Match Committee Chair 1985-86
Richmond Reserves Coach 1988-92
Richmond Ruck Coach 1993-95
VFL/AFL Tribunal member 1997-2016
Richmond FC Club Director 2016 - current (Risk, Compliance and Integrity Committee / Chair, History and Tradition Committee).
A long-time servant of the Carlton Football Club, O'Sullivan has worked at the Blues in various roles since 1979. Initially employed in the football department working with the Under-19 and reserves, O'Sullivan has since held a long list of titles including assistant general manager/CEO, recruiting manager, football administration manager and his current role working with past players and life members. O'Sullivan was also the general manager/CEO at Footscray for four years in the mid-1980s and was the founding general manager of football for the Brisbane Bears from 1987 to 1992 before his return to the Blues in 1994.
1979 - Joined Carlton FC, employed in the Football Department with primary responsibilities around Under 19 and Reserves players.
1981-82 - Assistant General Manager / CEO, Carlton FC.
1983 -86 - General Manager / CEO, Footscray FC.
1987 -92 - General Manager Football, Brisbane Bears FC (appointed from start-up).
1993 - Oakleigh Senior Coach (VFA).
1994 - 2004 - Carlton FC Recruiting Manager.
2005 -18 - Carlton FC Football Administration Manager.
2019 - current - Carlton FC Spirit of Carlton Manager (role services past players / life members).
2014 Jack Titus Award Winner.
A historic inclusion - the first boundary umpire to be awarded life membership in the game's history. In umpiring circles, the question has been raised whether Wilson was the best boundary umpire of all time. In 2016, he called time on a 21-year career which included a record 48 finals appearances including 12 Grand Finals. Post-football, Wilson settled back into life in Adelaide a firefighter and is an avid runner. He has also served as AFL Boundary Umpires coach since 2019.
404 AFL games umpired, 1996-2016
48 finals (record).
1998, 99, 2000, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09 AFL Grand Finals (record 12).
1998-2003 SANFL Umpiring Development Officer
2010-16 AFL junior umpire mentor / U16 and U18 National Championships Umpires' Coach
2017-19 AFLW Boundary Umpires Coach
2019 - current AFL Boundary Umpires Coach
Originally published as Secret notes: What Cats great recorded over 13 years