Western Bulldogs defender Taylor Duryea says reaching the 200-game milestone is something he dreamed of, but never thought would be possible given the start to his AFL career.

Despite being drafted to the Hawks in 2009, it took four years for Duryea to break-through for his senior debut.

After two premierships in the brown and gold, he crossed to the Kennel in 2018 seeking a fresh start, and now 199 games later is on the eve of what he describes as his biggest achievement.

“It’s quite surreal. After a slow start for me...I thought one game would be probably out of my reach, so to be at 200 it’s probably the thing most proud of,” Duryea told media on Tuesday morning.


“I haven’t played it yet, but the 200 for me is definitely my biggest achievement, even though I’ve played in Grand Finals and what not. I think the longevity piece and to be able to persevere through some injury and form and whatever else – to get to 200 is very special.

“I’m not going to downplay the premierships or anything like that, but that’s a team effort. It’s not just my achievement.

“Although it’s something every player dreams of – playing Grand Finals and winning premierships – for me it’s what (200 games) means to me and my family.”

Gratitude is particularly important for Duryea, considering everything he’s endured during his career to date.

“It was sort of a common story at Hawthorn - when I was there, there were lots of young guys that were playing really good VFL football but just couldn't quite crack in given the strength of the side,” he explained.

“I was just fortunate that the club was in a position where they could persist with some younger guys and not need to turn the list over. Had I been at another club, I was probably delisted and out of the system.

“Lots of things went my way – although I started to make my own luck and forge my own career, it was just right place, right time.

“I always dreamed of playing footy for 10+ years, and reality hits when you get into the system but here I am today. I’m quite fortunate.”

Duryea also credited senior coach Luke Beveridge, who he also played under at Hawthorn, while recognising it was time for the players to be held accountable.

“I’ve got a really strong relationship with Bevo - I’m very appreciate for everything he’s done for me,” he said.

“As you get older, you start to look at everything in totality and more the bigger picture stuff. When you’re younger, maybe you’re a bit more naïve to the pressures of the game and what results might mean, so I was definitely feeling for him. I’m glad we were able to respond as a team.

“We fully support Bevo. He’s been amazing for us – any inconsistencies we’ve had has definitely not been from his end. Us as players need to hold up our end of the bargain – we’re hoping to become more consistent.

“We know that our best is quite strong, and we’ve proven that in games this season. Hopefully we can bring our consistent best this weekend as well.”

The Dogs will face GWS at ENGIE Stadium this Saturday afternoon in Sir Doug Nicholls Round.

If the past clashes are anything to go by, Duryea is expecting a fiery meeting.


“They’ve been super impressive. I know they’ve come off a couple of losses...but they’ve been in form,” he said.

“As much as the couple of losses might suggest they’re not playing so well, it’s been against good opposition.

“They’ve been a strong side so far this year and we always seem to have pretty tight contests against them, or footy that’s hotly contested. It’ll be no different this week.”