Grover closes in on 150th match for Freo - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Grover closes in on 150th match for Freo

By Justin Chadwick 14/04/2009 04:33:51 PM Comments (0)

Milestone man Antoni Grover insists he's feeling fresher than ever despite Fremantle hurtling towards yet another AFL season of doom and gloom.

The Dockers are winless after three rounds and face the high-flying Saints at Telstra Dome on Saturday, a match that will mark Grover's 150th appearance for Fremantle.

The 29-year-old is quick to point out he's not the oldest player on the club's list (Dean Solomon shades him by two months) and said the influx of youth at the end of last season had sparked much-needed life into the perennial strugglers.

"I've embraced and enjoyed the part of being a leader as I've gotten older," said Grover, who has played in just two finals matches since debuting in 1999.

"We lost so much experience previously and you look at guys like Peter Bell and Shaun McManus, we always felt comfortable to leave it up to them in a way because they really had the runs on the board.

"But now you get put in this position with the extra responsibility - I'm glad I've had this responsibility.

"It does feel different but it's exciting at the same time.

"You talk about changing of the guard and keeping the young boys in line, and also feeding off the young guys.

"We want them to make us feel young so we can just really enjoy our football still.

"It's disappointing to lose but we've got a new list in a sense, 14 new players.

"We are blooding young blokes who are showing a bit and hopefully we can fast track them and develop them as soon as possible."

Grover's 150th will earn him life membership at the Dockers, making him just the second indigenous player behind Troy Cook to achieve the feat.

But it wasn't an easy pathway for the key defender, who forced his way into AFL ranks through the rookie list.

"When I first came down here I was just training to get on the rookie list. My total aim then was just to get on the list," he said.

"When I got my first opportunity under Damian Drum I couldn't believe it at the time.

"I think I've earned every game I've played, it's been a tough road but it's been a very rewarding one."

Grover said coach Mark Harvey's decision to use him as a pinch-hitting forward at times this season had been refreshing after "chasing ass" in defence for the first 10 years of his career.

He said he was also proud to see the impact Aboriginal players were having in the league.

"At the moment I think there's 70 indigenous players in the AFL and Michael Long had a dream of 150, and in time I think there will be," he said.

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