“It would be very special,” the 29-year-old said on Wednesday about the prospect of playing in a fourth premiership before his days in the Geelong backline are done. “The competition is set up this way [for clubs to rise and fall] … we see that as a great thing.
“When you’re able to succeed together as a group it’s an amazing feeing. There’s no doubt the best thing about tasting it is that it makes you want it even more. That’s a good thing for our group and something we’ll be striving for.”
Mackie said he was approaching the latter phase of his career with the same zeal as he did the first after being drafted from South Australia in 2002. “We’re as hungry as ever. With a guy like Joel Selwood leading the way, it’s hard not to keep your foot on the pedal. He’s only 25 or whatever and just trains like an animal. Every day we get to see it. That’s the standard that’s set.
“If we’re going to be leaders we can’t be not doing it and telling others to. We’re very hungry, we’d love to win [against Brisbane Lions] on Sunday and give ourselves a two and zero [start] and have another crack at setting up the season. The work’s too hard over the pre-season to get here now and take the foot off the pedal.”
Mackie said he doesn’t take lightly the honour he’d had of being a Geelong player in great teams, surrounded by great players. “Every day to come into the club is a great day. I’m very lucky to have had my name called out by [recruiter] Stephen Wells. I’m very thankful for that.”
He spoke of the environment he enters every working day as “something we do above and beyond a lot of others” and a major reason why the Cats have performed so well for so long. He joked that sitting through a highlights package of his career with the playing group on Friday would be another humbling experience, albeit “not great timing” coming on the back of Jimmy Bartel’s 250th last week.
“I’m under no illusions where I sit. I’ve been a part of what we’ve been able to do, lucky enough to play with champions, but I’ve been a player who’s been able to do my role for the team. I’ve been humbled to play with them, and hopefully play with a few more in the years to come.”
Being dropped towards the end of the 2010 season was a formative mid-career experience at a difficult time, with coach Mark Thompson and champion Gary Ablett about to leave the club. Mackie hailed Chris Scott’s football philosophy as very similar to his own, and was grateful to have been given the chance to “put my head down and bum up” and not just return to the team and rise to the leadership group, but grow as a person as well.
Scott recently described him as one of the most respected people at the club, which moved Mackie as much as any praise.
“If you can walk out of your career and be able to catch up with workmates, colleagues, hold your head high and talk about fun times, that’s more important than anything,” he said. “It helps when you’ve got some success under your belt that you can talk about.
“That’s something every player should be aiming [for] – to get the respect of the playing group. You get that through being a good person, working hard and playing the Geelong way.”
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/andrew-mackie-hungry-for-more-success-20140326-zqn6f.html#ixzz2xbx7RNue