JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Matthew Pavlich: 700,000km and still running

Date

Simon White

Matthew Pavlich's 275 games for Fremantle include 125 outside of WA (not depicted - one game apiece in each of Canberra and Darwin).

Matthew Pavlich's 275 games for Fremantle include 125 outside of WA (not depicted - one game apiece in each of Canberra and Darwin).

There is no shortage of numbers by which you might measure Matthew Pavlich as he prepares to this weekend equal Glen Jakovich's record for the most games by a WA-based AFL player.

There are a pair of sixes (All-Australian jumpers and club champion awards), membership of a 500-club (goals), potentially a one (this year's Coleman Medal) and, yes, for the non-Dockers fans also a zero (premierships).

But ahead of Saturday's home clash with Richmond - the 276th appearance of Pavlich's career - the more relevant figures might be 700,000 (kilometres), 910 (hours) and 38 (days).

That's the approximate distance and time Pavlich has covered and spent in airplanes going to and from the 125 home-and-away and finals games he has so far played for Fremantle outside of WA.

As a further point of reference, former Geelong skipper Cameron Ling, taken 34 picks after Pavlich in the 1999 national draft, retired at the end of last season having played 191 of his 246 games within Victoria.

The impact of frequent interstate travel on an AFL player's longevity remains a topic of debate, mainly because there is no generally accepted way to accurately quantify it.

Jakovich's former West Coast teammate Karl Langdon, for instance, has often insisted that fortnightly flying does not put either of the WA teams at a disadvantage because it's simply a fact of life to which they adapt.

Even games-played statistics can be interpreted in different ways.

Sure, fellow interstate but less-time-flying clubs Adelaide (four), Brisbane and Sydney (two apiece) have multiple 300-game players, while West Coast and Fremantle are still waiting for their first.

But Jakovich would almost certainly have got there if not for a serious mid-career knee injury that had nothing to do with travelling. Ditto for Ben Cousins (238 games for the Eagles), whose West Coast career was first interrupted, then ended by drug addiction at the age of 29.

Still, it's hard to imagine how squashing a large athlete's body - and Pavlich is 192 centimetres and 98 kilograms - into a constricted airborne space after three hours of intense physical activity wouldn't have some impact.

"It definitely has an effect from a wear and tear perspective," Jakovich said this week.

"I think about guys who came into the league about the same time as me and went on to play 300-plus games - like Chris Grant and Paul Williams, but mainly Grant because he was basically the same size as me [193 centimetres, 100 kilgrams].

"He was based in Melbourne, didn't travel as much as I did and ended up playing an extra four seasons and 340-odd games."

Another 300-game key position player, Jakovich's Fox Footy commentary colleague Alastair Lynch, overcame debilitating chronic fatigue syndrome to reach that milestone. But he may never have got there if he hadn't started skipping the arduous Perth-Brisbane trip.

"I would have loved to play in Perth more often but the last two or three years of my career we just had to basically put a line through it," Lynch said.

"Travelling to Perth and back, it would take me probably five days after the game before I started to come any good.

"I've always thought West Coast's premierships have been a little underappreciated in the eastern states given the travel demands placed on them.

"Obviously my physical condition [CFS] played some part in the way flying affected me but for Pav to virtually be on those kinds of flights every second week and miss as few games as he has, that's a pretty amazing achievement."

A teenage Matthew Pavlich runs at a Dockers training session in 2000; by 2004, when Glen Jakovich retired, he would already have two All-Australian jumpers.

Which brings us to another set of Pavlich numbers.

Since debuting in round five of 2000, he has played 275 of a possible 285 games, including a six-season stint between 2002 and 2007 when he did not miss a match.

He has never missed more than three games in a season, a pretty fair effort for a bloke who collapsed in a training session during his first pre-season and was admitted to intensive care.

"Travel is an interesting one - it's a subject that's been brought up a few times," leading sports doctor Peter Larkins said.

"A simple way to look at it is to say that spending three or four hours on a flight after a game, with reduced oxygen supply, is never going to be ideal from a recovery perspective - especially if a player has copped a corky or something like that.

"But Fremantle's medical and fitness staff and Pav have been doing this for so long now that they'd be super-professional and meticulous about it. They would have it down to a very fine art."

In days gone by, the approach to cross-country trips was equally meticulous, if not so professional.

Lynch fondly recalls his Fitzroy days, when Friday night games in Perth were a pre-cursor to beers on the red-eye home and then a weekend spent skiiing at Mount Buller.

Jakovich, meanwhile, remembers injured Eagles miraculously pronouncing themselves fit after Saturday games in Melbourne, in order to skip Sunday rehab and free up some time to spend in the pub.

With the benefits of modern medical science - and barring any significant injuries - Pavlich should be pushing the 320-game barrier by the time his current contract ends in 2014.

He would be 32 by then but such is his current form as a stay-at-home forward (46 goals from the past 10 games), that Jakovich reckons he could go on racking up frequent flyer points beyond that.

As an aside, Jakovich, who played even more interstate games (135) than Pavlich has, once had a fair points balance of his own - until Ansett collapsed in 2001 and he lost the lot.

"I think the most impressive thing with Pav is that he's played as many games as he has, at his size, while spending probably 60 per cent of his time in the midfield," Jakovich said.

"That's a real testament to his resilience but from now on, as this season has proved, there's probably not much of a reason for him to spend anything other than bursts in the midfield.

"Kept to the forward line, he's worth 50 goals a season to Freo for at least the next two seasons and potentially even after that.

"You don't want to say no-one will ever go past him because records are there to be broken. But if he stays fit - and he has done until now - he's going to post a mark that is going to be very hard for any other WA-based player to catch."

7 comments so far

  • We're still regretting the decision to list Ken McGregor as our 17yo pick ahead of Matthew Pavlich. Pav would have made an enormous difference to the Crows and might have just been enough to ensure flags in 2005-06 when we arguably the best team but blew it in the finals both times. If only we had Matt Rendell as our recruiting manager back then! Congratulations to Pav on a great career.

    Commenter
    Crow Boy
    Location
    Adelaide
    Date and time
    August 16, 2012, 10:45AM
    • I'm a Richmond fan, but I think Pavlich has been an incredible player, who is still probably under-appreciated outside of the West. I think premierships are an over-rated mark of a player's career, since, in a sport with 36 on the field, it's just not possible for one player to drag a team to a GF. So by that logic, I would actually rate Pav a better player over his career than Jonathon Brown, who I think is a bit over-rated by us Vics, probably cos he's such a good Aussie bloke. Brown's best is a bit better than Pav's best; we just haven't seen it often enough due to injury. And I think they've both clearly been better players than Riewoldt - Nick, that is; Jack's obviously better than all of them by a country mile...

      Commenter
      SLB
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      August 16, 2012, 11:07AM
      • Excellent article again Simon.

        Commenter
        Markedw
        Date and time
        August 16, 2012, 11:46AM
        • Thanks Mark - as always, much appreciated.

          Commenter
          Simon White
          Date and time
          August 16, 2012, 3:08PM
      • Makes you wonder why Pav is one of those players that never seems to get injured, much like Adam Goodes. Is he just extremely lucky or good at avoiding dangerous situations ?

        Commenter
        the thinker
        Date and time
        August 16, 2012, 1:09PM
        • The [self-styled / so-called] thinker's question about Pavlich's being "good at avoiding dangerous situations" looks, prima facie, a bit of a slur on a very good player in a position where sissies would not last.

          True, though, that some have questioned Pav's ranking, wondering whether he is up there with the likes of Brereton, Jakovich, J Brown and Carey. But he has played almost all his career in sides which were definitely NOT coached by the likes of Jeans, Malthouse, Pagan or Matthews; some of his coaches looked very lightweight and light-headed.

          Now that he finally has a hard-headed coach, maybe his ranking will rise.

          Good to see him become the first 300-gamer from a WA club, especially as that club will be Fremantle.

          And remember, he had a chance to leave these fruitcakes, and chose to stay. For the post-modern generation, that is spelt L-O-Y-A-L-T-Y - go google..

          Commenter
          40 Degrees S
          Date and time
          August 16, 2012, 5:46PM
      • O Captain! My Captain, what a champion player AND person. If he lived in Melbourne he would be seen as one of the greatest players of all time.

        Commenter
        TJ
        Location
        East Vic Park
        Date and time
        August 16, 2012, 7:28PM

        Make a comment

        You are logged in as [Logout]

        All information entered below may be published.

        Error: Please enter your screen name.

        Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Please enter your comment.

        Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

        Post to

        You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

        Thank you

        Your comment has been submitted for approval.

        Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

        AFL 2015

        Round 1
        Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
        CAR 78 vs RIC 105 Report Stats
        Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
        MEL 115 vs GCF 89 Stats
        SYD 72 vs ESS 60 Stats
        BRI 74 vs COL 86 Stats
        WBU 97 vs WCE 87 Stats
        Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
        STK 78 vs GWS 87 Stats
        ADE 140 vs NTH 63 Stats
        FRE 75 vs PTA 68 Stats
        Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
        HAW 123 vs GEE 61 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 2
        Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
        WCE 131 vs CAR 62 Stats
        Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
        RIC 66 vs WBU 85 Report Stats
        GWS 101 vs MEL 56 Stats
        COL 63 vs ADE 90 Report Stats
        GCF 76 vs STK 104 Stats
        PTA 44 vs SYD 92 Stats
        Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
        GEE 60 vs FRE 104 Stats
        ESS 78 vs HAW 76 Stats
        NTH 133 vs BRI 51 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 3
        Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
        COL 140 vs STK 66 Stats
        Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
        CAR 84 vs ESS 105 Stats
        ADE 80 vs MEL 55 Stats
        SYD 111 vs GWS 90 Report Stats
        NTH 105 vs PTA 113 Stats
        BRI 58 vs RIC 137 Stats
        Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
        HAW 127 vs WBU 57 Stats
        GEE 105 vs GCF 96 Stats
        WCE 81 vs FRE 111 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 4
        Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
        RIC 51 vs MEL 83 Stats
        Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
        STK 81 vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
        ESS 49 vs COL 69 Report Stats
        GWS 119 vs GCF 53 Stats
        PTA 99 vs HAW 91 Stats
        FRE 74 vs SYD 60 Stats
        Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
        BRI 65 vs WCE 118 Stats
        GEE 67 vs NTH 83 Stats
        WBU 125 vs ADE 68 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 5
        Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
        CAR 45 vs COL 120 Stats
        Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
        RIC 76 vs GEE 85 Stats
        SYD 73 vs WBU 77 Stats
        GCF 118 vs BRI 54 Stats
        NTH 70 vs HAW 130 Stats
        WCE 120 vs GWS 33 Stats
        Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
        MEL 50 vs FRE 118 Stats
        STK 80 vs ESS 82 Stats
        ADE 91 vs PTA 115 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 6
        Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
        COL 59 vs GEE 100 Stats
        Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
        NTH 109 vs RIC 74 Stats
        WBU 87 vs STK 94 Stats
        GWS 108 vs HAW 98 Stats
        GCF 78 vs ADE 119 Stats
        MEL 50 vs SYD 88 Stats
        FRE 80 vs ESS 52 Stats
        Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
        CAR 75 vs BRI 84 Report Stats
        PTA 68 vs WCE 78 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 7
        Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
        ESS 82 vs NTH 93 Stats
        Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
        ADE 119 vs STK 73 Stats
        HAW 155 vs MEL 50 Stats
        CAR 57 vs GWS 135 Stats
        SYD 120 vs GEE 77 Stats
        WCE 135 vs GCF 43 Stats
        Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
        WBU 88 vs FRE 101 Stats
        RIC 105 vs COL 100 Report Stats
        BRI 102 vs PTA 65 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 8
        Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
        GEE 140 vs CAR 63 Stats
        Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
        STK 78 vs WCE 131 Stats
        GWS 108 vs ADE 84 Report Stats
        GCF 63 vs COL 132 Report Stats
        HAW 33 vs SYD 47 LIVE Stats
        FRE 62 vs NTH 28 LIVE Stats
        Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
        ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
        MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
        PTA vs RIC 16:40Adelaide Oval
        View All Fixtures
        Round 9
        Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
        SYD vs CAR 19:50SCG
        Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
        HAW vs GCF 13:45AS
        MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
        WBU vs GWS 16:35ES
        RIC vs ESS 19:20MCG
        ADE vs FRE 19:40Adelaide Oval
        Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
        BRI vs STK 13:10G
        COL vs NTH 15:20MCG
        WCE vs GEE 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 10
        Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
        FRE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
        Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
        CAR vs ADE 13:40MCG
        GCF vs SYD 16:35MS
        ESS vs GEE 19:20ES
        PTA vs WBU 19:40Adelaide Oval
        Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
        GWS vs BRI 13:10Spotless Stadium
        NTH vs WCE 15:20BA
        STK vs HAW 16:40ES
        Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
        MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
        View All Fixtures
        Round 11
        Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
        PTA vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
        Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
        GCF vs FRE 13:40MS
        WCE vs ESS 16:35Domain Stadium
        NTH vs SYD 19:20ES
        Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
        COL vs GWS 13:10MCG
        STK vs MEL 16:40ES
        View All Fixtures
        Round 12
        Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
        ADE vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
        Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
        RIC vs WCE 19:50MCG
        Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
        CAR vs PTA 13:40MCG
        GWS vs NTH 16:35Spotless Stadium
        WBU vs BRI 19:20ES
        Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
        GEE vs MEL 15:20SS
        View All Fixtures
        Round 13
        Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
        FRE vs COL 20:10Domain Stadium
        Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
        SYD vs RIC 19:50SCG
        Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
        HAW vs ESS 13:40MCG
        BRI vs ADE 16:35G
        STK vs WBU 19:20ES
        Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
        CAR vs GCF 15:20ES
        View All Fixtures
        Round 14
        Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
        SYD vs PTA 19:20SCG
        Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
        COL vs HAW 19:50MCG
        Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
        RIC vs GWS 13:40MCG
        GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
        WBU vs CAR 19:20ES
        MEL vs WCE 19:40TIO
        Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
        ESS vs STK 13:10ES
        ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
        FRE vs BRI 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 15
        Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
        PTA vs COL 19:50Adelaide Oval
        Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
        RIC vs CAR 19:50MCG
        Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
        ESS vs MEL 13:40MCG
        WBU vs GCF 16:35CAZ
        NTH vs GEE 19:20ES
        WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
        Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
        GWS vs STK 13:10Spotless Stadium
        HAW vs FRE 15:20AS
        BRI vs SYD 16:40G
        View All Fixtures
        Round 16
        Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
        NTH vs ESS 19:50ES
        Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
        GEE vs WBU 13:45SS
        GCF vs GWS 14:10MS
        COL vs WCE 16:35ES
        SYD vs HAW 19:20ANZ
        FRE vs CAR 19:40Domain Stadium
        Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
        MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
        PTA vs ADE 15:20Adelaide Oval
        STK vs RIC 16:40ES
        View All Fixtures
        Round 17
        Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
        CAR vs HAW 19:50ES
        Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
        GWS vs GEE 13:45SO
        ADE vs GCF 14:10Adelaide Oval
        RIC vs FRE 16:35MCG
        ESS vs PTA 19:20ES
        BRI vs NTH 19:20G
        Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
        WBU vs COL 13:10ES
        MEL vs STK 15:20MCG
        WCE vs SYD 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 18
        Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
        HAW vs RIC 19:50MCG
        Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
        GEE vs BRI 13:45SS
        COL vs MEL 14:10MCG
        SYD vs ADE 16:35SCG
        CAR vs NTH 19:20ES
        GCF vs WCE 19:20MS
        Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
        PTA vs STK 13:10Adelaide Oval
        ESS vs WBU 15:20ES
        FRE vs GWS 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 19
        Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
        ADE vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
        Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
        COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
        WBU vs PTA 14:10ES
        BRI vs GCF 16:35G
        GEE vs SYD 19:20SS
        WCE vs HAW 19:40Domain Stadium
        Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
        MEL vs NTH 13:10MCG
        GWS vs ESS 15:20Spotless Stadium
        STK vs FRE 16:40ES
        View All Fixtures
        Round 20
        Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
        SYD vs COL 19:50SCG
        Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
        ESS vs ADE 13:45ES
        NTH vs STK 14:10BA
        PTA vs GWS 16:35Adelaide Oval
        GEE vs HAW 19:20MCG
        BRI vs CAR 19:20G
        Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
        RIC vs GCF 13:10MCG
        WBU vs MEL 15:20ES
        FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 21
        Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
        HAW vs PTA 19:50ES
        Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
        COL vs RIC 13:45MCG
        GWS vs SYD 14:10Spotless Stadium
        GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
        STK vs GEE 19:20ES
        ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
        Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
        NTH vs FRE 13:10ES
        CAR vs MEL 15:20MCG
        WCE vs WBU 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 22
        Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
        GEE vs COL 19:50MCG
        Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
        GWS vs CAR 13:45Spotless Stadium
        HAW vs BRI 14:10AS
        NTH vs WBU 16:35ES
        ESS vs RIC 19:20MCG
        GCF vs PTA 19:20MS
        Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
        ADE vs WCE 13:10Adelaide Oval
        STK vs SYD 15:20ES
        FRE vs MEL 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 23
        Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
        COL vs ESS 00:00MCG
        RIC vs NTH 00:00ES
        HAW vs CAR 00:00MCG
        GEE vs ADE 00:00SS
        SYD vs GCF 00:00SCG
        MEL vs GWS 00:00ES
        BRI vs WBU 00:00G
        PTA vs FRE 00:30Adelaide Oval
        WCE vs STK 02:00Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        AFL 2015
        Overall standings
        Team P W L D % Pts
        Fremantle 7 7 0 0 144.44 28
        West Coast Eagles 8 6 2 0 158.17 24
        GWS Giants 8 6 2 0 118.87 24
        Sydney Swans 7 5 2 0 130.51 20
        Collingwood 8 5 3 0 129.90 20
        Adelaide Crows 8 5 3 0 116.32 20
        Hawthorn 7 4 3 0 152.96 16
        Western Bulldogs 7 4 3 0 100.00 16
        View all
         
        Featured advertisers