If West Coast midfielder Matt Priddis ever gets a trophy named in his honour, it should be a macaroni figurine awarded to the most professional player.
Persistence, professionalism, and precision are three of the best words to sum up Priddis, who will notch his 200-game milestone in Saturday night’s western derby against Fremantle at Domain Stadium.
Even getting to one AFL game was an achievement for Priddis.
The curly-haired midfielder spent three years banging on the draft door before finally getting a chance on West Coast’s rookie list.
What Priddis lacked in speed and finesse, he made up for with unwavering commitment.
Such is Priddis’ attention to detail, he revealed several years ago of his knack of weighing out 275 grams of pasta – no more or no less – to eat for dinner the night before each game.
It’s this level of dedication that has helped take Priddis to the top, culminating in his 2014 Brownlow Medal success.
When teenagers are drafted to West Coast, Priddis soon becomes their poster boy for success.
“I’m sure every club has their warriors. But he’s ours,” Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.
“He’s a great role model for the club and for the AFL, and any young kids coming through.”
West Coast defender Jeremy McGovern was the perfect example of how talent means nothing if it’s not accompanied by a strong work ethic.
The 23-year-old was banished from the team in late 2013 after rocking up to day one of pre-season training overweight.
McGovern worked hard to get back into shape, and he’s now considered as one of the best swingmen in the AFL.
He said Priddis was a constant inspiration for everyone at the club.
“He sets the standard for everyone, which is what you need in a club and you need in a leader,” said McGovern.
“A lot of the young boys look up to him.”
Even Fremantle coach Ross Lyon can’t help but admire Priddis.
“To come off a rookie list – as Denis Pagan says: `It doesn’t build character, it eliminates the weak’,” Lyon said.
“So he’s clearly a strong character.
“He just reflects possibility mindset – that anything is possible if you apply yourself.”