Now a decorated veteran at Essendon, Goddard will become the 80th player in VFL/AFL history to reach 300 games when the Bombers face Greater Western Sydney at Spotless Stadium on Saturday.
Goddard was reminded of the looming milestone when the season’s fixtures were announced and his mother circled the round 11 fixture – an away game – with disappointment.
He had also been thinking about another exclusive club – the one he joined when he played in the infamous drawn grand final between St Kilda and Collingwood in 2010.
The 56-point thrashing that followed in the replay a week later is burned into Goddard’s memory, as is the 12-point defeat to Geelong in the previous year’s decider.
And when Goddard watched televised replays of all three grand finals from start to finish during the off-season, it was a painful reminder of the premiership flag missing from his decorated career.
“No doubt. As you get older and it becomes more elusive, the odds are shrinking every year that goes by and every game,” Goddard said.
“It’s something that burns, I think, in most players but especially when you get to a certain age and you’re closer to the end than you are the start. It’s a burning desire to get that elusive premiership.
“The wound’s never going to close. It might close for some and there’ll be a scar but the wound’s always there. There’s always memories of it.”
Goddard describes the Saints’ consecutive grand final appearances as the proudest accomplishment of his career, and it was a period that coincided with some of his best form.
The 32-year-old made the All-Australian team in both of those seasons and placed second behind Lenny Hayes in the Norm Smith medal count during the drawn grand final.
But he has also served the Bombers with distinction and has shown no signs of slowing down this year, making it all the more likely he will be offered the chance to play on for a 16th season in 2018.
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