It would be fitting if Matt White is Richmond’s sub in his 100th AFL game on Sunday.
White has worn the green sub’s vest seven times this season – more than any other player.
Since the sub rule was introduced, he has worn either the green or red vests 11 times.
In that time he has averaged 63 minutes a game – meaning he has actually played about 85 full matches.
But that won’t dampen the enthusiasm of the life-long Tiger fan when he reaches the milestone on Sunday seven years after making his Tiger debut.
Last year the midfielder managed only seven senior matches.
But he has blossomed – predominantly in the sub’s role – in 2013, playing 10 senior games including the last eight in succession.
The former champion cross-country runner’s speed and endurance make him ideally suited to impacting matches when opponents are tiring in the closing stages.
“Coming from a Richmond family I’m pretty happy to be playing 100 games,” the 26-year-old said today.
“For a while there it didn’t look like I was going to get there and a lot of hard work over the last 18 months cemented a spot in there so it’s nice to be getting to that milestone.”
White said a stint with Richmond’s VFL affiliate Coburg last season had reignited his love of the game.
“It brought me back into the midfield and I was able to run my own race down there and it gave me a lot of confidence to play the way I’ve been playing with a lot of run and carry and shots from outside 50.”
Richmond will head into the Fremantle clash confident after falling to a thrilling one-point loss in Round 5 against the same opposition at Patersons Stadium.
White kicked a superb goal from the boundary to snatch the lead with two minutes to go and he had another controversial shot denied when it hit the goal umpire, before Hayden Ballantyne’s matchwinner.
Fremantle skipper Matthew Pavlich missed that game through injury and will again be sidelined on Sunday, this time due to a three-match suspension.
In the corresponding game at the MCG last year, Pavlich kicked six goals to steer his team to a 12-point victory.
White said the fifth-placed Dockers would still be a very tough proposition even without Pavlich, who has already missed 10 matches this year due to a plantaris injury.
“He came back and played well in his last few games but they’ve got so many good players that can step up and kick goals for them,” said White, who was picked up by Richmond in the 2006 pre-season draft.