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Morris notches up 200

Morris reflects on 200 Dale Morris speaks to BulldogsTV about what it means to play his 200th game this weekend.

As Dale Morris runs out for the Western Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon for his 200th game, he will continue the Club’s strong tradition of players coming off the rookie list and enjoying successful careers.

 Taken in the 2004 AFL Rookie Draft, Morris played 17 matches in his debut year in 2005 and hasn’t looked back, notching up 200 of the most consistent matches of any Bulldog before him.

“It feels like it has gone quick but when I look back I kind of raced to 150 games and the last 50 games have been injured so it’s taken a bit longer.

“But I’ve just loved every minute here at the Club and everything they’ve done for me and I can’t thank them enough.

“To get to 200 is a huge honour.”

The 2008 All-Australian back pocket has been a cornerstone in the Dogs’ defensive line in the last ten years, with consistency the trademark of his game.

Such is Morris’ strength, he has maintained that consistency following a horrific incident that saw him sidelined for 12 months with a broken leg during the 2012 season.

“I still valued every game because they were precious to me and I never thought I was going to have the opportunity.

“Then after the injuries especially the leg I guess it makes you value it even more and how precious your time is at the Club and how quickly it can be taken away… It made me enjoy footy a lot more.”

The 32-year-old said his durability came from an attitude that started early on in his career.

“Something I tried to get into my game was consistency and I really wanted to be reliable and I wanted my teammates to know what they were going to get from me in a game of footy.

“I tried to keep that consistent every week and I think I’ve done that.

“I just want to be known as the reliable player down back, you know what you’re going to get each week, they’re not going to be the highest highs, but it’s not going to be the lowest lows.”

At 190cm, Morris has been able to play both tall and small, one of the biggest strengths in his game.

In a career spanning 11 season, he’s endured battles with some of the competition’s best, but says there is one player that stands out most.

“I’ve had a lot of battles over my journey and hopefully there’s still a few more battles ahead of me.

“There’s one player that really sticks out over the time and you know you’re in for a big tough game but you also know that if you can beat this opponent it goes a long way to the team winning and that’s Nick Riewoldt.

“We had some great battles in the finals and prelims and you just know what you’re going into… you know you have to be at your best.

“I always wanted to line up on the best and beat the best because that’s the way I approach things, if you want to be the best in your business then why not take on the best?”

In 200 games, Morris says his love for the game hasn’t wavered, and his enthusiasm is only aided by the development of the side around him.

Under Luke Beveridge, who has given the Bulldogs a more rounded defensive approach, Morris is relishing.

“He’s definitely brought a different flavour to the team and different way to look at things.

“Early in my career the game was played differently, it was more a lock down defender, stopping your opponent went a long way to helping the team, whereas now you look at all the teams in the AFL and it’s about a team defence mentality.

“It is a different look at things and I’m loving it. I’m also loving the development of the players around me… it’s really exciting to see the guys blossoming under a new coach.”

Morris becomes the 25th player to play 250 games with the Western Bulldogs.