By Luke Voogt
‘Captain Courageous’ is not just a nickname for Geelong Cats skipper Joel Selwood, who is set to play his 300th game on Saturday.
Cats fans seemingly see their leader bloodied or bandaged once every few games from putting his head over the ball.
And AFL players recognise his bravery too, naming him Most Courageous Player four times in his career (2009, 2012, 2013 and 2014).
Selwood grew up in Bendigo, the third oldest of four brothers, all of who would go on to play in the AFL.
He overcame a walking disability that forced him to wear splints as a two-year-old and later developed his athletic prowess, becoming state hurdling champion in his early teenage years.
He excelled in the Victorian developmental football league and was drafted by Geelong in 2007 at pick seven.
He missed only four games in his first season, won the AFL Rising Star and had a standout performance in the Cats’ 119-point thrashing of Port Adelaide in the Grand Final.
Selwood made vital contributions in Geelong’s 2009 and 2011 grand final wins too before taking over captaincy from Cameron Ling in 2012.
He would feature on highlight reels throughout his career, especially for his fourth quarter efforts helping Geelong get over the line.
In round 12, 2014, he kicked the Cats final goal with a minute to spare to put them 5 points ahead of Carlton.
In round 19, 2012, he took a strong mark in the centre when Geelong was four points behind Hawthorn, with about half a minute left.
He recovered immediately from the contest and kicked long to set up Tom Hawkins for a match-winning goal after the siren.
His career is full of highlights of him leading comebacks or helping Geelong kick away in the final term, or getting up after taking a heavy hit.
Selwood holds the record for the most games as Geelong captain, surpassing club legend Reg Hickey’s mark of 142 last year.
And it’s easy to see why – he leads by example, averaging more than 25 disposals and 5.2 tackles a game for his career.
After signing a new contract last year to play for Geelong until 2021, there are more highlights and maybe even a premiership or two in store for Captain Courageous.