THE most high-pressure, high-stakes situations don’t seem to affect Shaun Burgoyne.
But even he can’t hide how excited he is to be playing his 300th AFL match this week.
When Burgoyne runs out onto the MCG against Adelaide Crows on Friday night, it will mark an extraordinary achievement from one of the game’s humble champions.
"I'm feeling pretty excited, I can't lie, with this week approaching. There's been a lot of requests from family and friends to come to the game,” Burgoyne said on Tuesday.
"I never thought I'd get to this point in my career to play 300 games."
The 33-year-old was drafted by Port Adelaide with pick 12 in the 2000 National Draft, and went on to play in 157 games for the Power.
Along the way he won a premiership (2004), an All Australian Guernsey (2006) and represented Australia (2008) – among a host of achievements.
At the end of 2009 he joined Hawthorn – who had just missed the finals after winning the flag the previous year. Burgoyne battled knee injuries late in his Power career, but with a three-year deal behind him, flourished as a Hawk.
If anything, Burgoyne has only got better with each year in the brown and gold.
“Obviously I’ve had a few injuries along the way… You never really set your goals to play 300 games,” he said.
“It’s all about playing your role for the team and setting team goals, instead of individual goals. But it’s quite exciting and I know my kids are looking forward to this Friday night.
I signed a three-year contract when I came to Hawthorn, and I was pretty confident I’d see that through… It’s all been pretty good on the body since then and we’ve just been taking it one year at a time once we got over those first three years.”
From 2010-2015, Burgoyne has played in four grand finals – three of which brought the ultimate success – has become the second-most capped finals player in the history of the game, and is currently on a 62-game streak without missing.
He will become just the fifth Indigenous player to reach the 300 Club, alongside Adam Goodes, Andrew McLeod, Michael O’Loughlin and Port Adelaide premiership teammate Gavin Wanganeen.
"I grew up watching Gavin and Andrew and was lucky enough to play against all those guys and with Gavin," Burgoyne said.
"I never thought I'd have my name sitting alongside those guys because they're champions of the game and players I look up to.
“It’s a bit daunting when you see your name up against those guys, because they’re household names.”
There’s no doubt that after four premierships and 300 games, when Burgoyne decides to call time, his name will sit comfortably alongside them.
Comparing premierships isn’t something he does – they all mean something different – and playing in the 2013 preliminary final is something he feels ‘honoured’ to have done.
It’s the one memory that will stick in the memory of Hawks fans forever, Burgoyne kicking the sealer to down Geelong at the MCG.
And his take on wondering what if he missed the goal just about sums him up.
“Not really ‘what if I didn’t kick the goal…’ – I was confident I was going to kick it.”
Modest, yet confident.
Hawks fans can only hope there’s a few similar Shaun Burgoyne moments still to come.