Tocumwal’s Scott Baldwin will line up this weekend to play his 400th senior game for the Bloods.
The 40 year-old was first picked in the senior side in 1995 and has never missed more than three weeks in row despite even having a couple of mid-season surgeries.
Even more impressive is that the durable defender has never been dropped from the senior side since he made his debut.
Baldwin said he keeps coming back for this simple reason — ‘‘I just love playing the game and I’ve always been committed to Tocumwal and never had the desire to leave.’’
He is one of only two Bloods to have played in two premierships for the club, the other being Ken Chellew.
Baldwin played in the 1991 fourths premiership side, where he played on the wing, before being a part of the 2009 Murray Football League premiership side 18 years later which he said was a personal highlight.
‘‘Moama were coming at us late and I thought they were going to run over the top of us (in the Murray League grand final),’’ he said.
‘‘When the siren sounded it was a massive feeling of relief. I’m still close to most of my premiership teammates like Anthony Mellington, Michael Hare and Lucas White.’’
Baldwin, a father of three and a farmer, said he struggles to make it to most of the pre-season training these days and is unsure how long he’ll play on for.
‘‘It is getting harder on the body. The game is slightly faster than what it used to be.
‘‘I’ll have a think at the end of the year about when I should hang up the boots.
‘‘It won’t be an easy decision but one I know I’ll have to make soon. It would be great to go out with a flag.’’
Club president Malcolm Hart said he hopes Baldwin can play on for a few more years.
‘‘I spoke with him last year and he was unsure but he still turns up,’’ Hart said.
‘‘Even if he does want to take a step back he could certainly coach the younger players or maybe slot down to the reserves and play with some of those younger players.’’
Being a defender, Baldwin has never won a best and fairest, with his best finish being runner-up in 2008 to Lee Warnett in the year Warnett won the O’Dwyer Medal.
However this season he’s been moved into the forward line, even booting three goals in his last match.
‘‘I’ve really enjoyed the move up forward,’’ Baldwin said.
‘‘It’s probably a little easier to get the ball.’’
Hart said Baldwin’s 400th is a ‘‘testament to his determination and toughness’’
‘‘There aren’t many players across all leagues in the country that have played 400 games,’’ Hart said.
‘‘Senior footy regardless of level is not easy. To me it’s staggering that a guy can play that many games without being dropped and to only have a few injury niggles.
‘‘His mentality to keep coming back is unbelievable. Scott works a pretty hard job as a farmer on his property and despite the fact he misses some training sessions can still turn up each week and give it his all.’’
Hart shared personal memories about Baldwin during the club’s struggling times toward the end of its Murray League tenure.
‘‘I was coaching and we couldn’t win a game. Most of the time we were being flogged and it wasn’t great,’’ Hart said.
‘‘Scott consistently played as if there was no scoreboard.
‘‘We had some players leave but Scott stayed.
‘‘His father played over 300 games for the club so there was certainly some family loyalty there.
‘‘We wish him the best this weekend and hopefully the boys can have a win for him.’’
Tocumwal host Rennie this Saturday.