Year off was best thing, says Bradshaw - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Year off was best thing, says Bradshaw

By Drew Cratchley 20/08/2008 04:46:55 PM Comments (0)

On the verge of his 200th AFL appearance, Brisbane Lions powerhouse Daniel Bradshaw said having last season off could prolong his career.

The 29-year-old will become Brisbane's 25th player to reach the 200-game milestone on Saturday night at the Gabba against Carlton.

It's a match the ninth-placed Lions must win if they are to remain a chance of reaching the finals.

Bradshaw's 13th season has arguably been his best, booting 67 goals to be equal third alongside Fremantle's Matthew Pavlich.

Making the effort perhaps more remarkable is fact the Wodonga product missed the entire 2007 season after a knee reconstruction.

The 12 months off could mean Bradshaw plays beyond his current contract which expires at the end of 2009.

"It's definitely freshened me up, mentally and physically," he says of the forced layoff.

"Having that year off definitely helped the body out. I was able to fix a few other things up as well.

"Just being away from the club, I didn't have to go to all the meetings and that through the year, it just freshened the mind up as well. So hopefully at the end of my career it might add one or two years on there."

Saturday's milestone is an honour for Bradshaw, but he said the need for a win against Carlton on Saturday would override any personal emotions.

"It's obviously a massive milestone, something I'm very proud of, but I probably won't appreciate it until I retire and realise just how hard it is," he said.

"We need to win the next few games, and that's all we're going to be focussed on, if we don't win this weekend it's fair to say we won't be playing finals."

Tuesday's retirement of 32-year-old midfielder Nigel Lappin leaves Bradshaw as the only man on the Lions roster who played as a Brisbane Bear, before the merger with Fitzroy in 1996, a fact he says reminds him of his age.

"Once you get to 200 games it means you've been around for a while," he said.

Coach Leigh Matthews paid tribute to the combination Bradshaw has struck with Jonathan Brown - producing 133 goals this year.

"He and Browny haven't played together a lot the last three years," Matthews said.

"In terms of their goal scoring as a pair they're very good, and Daniel individually has certainly had his best year goal kicking in terms of his consistency.

"He's got good hands, a good leap and when he attacks the ball from the front position he's very hard to stop."

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