AFL great Burgoyne keen to keep playing

Roger Vaughan
Darwin-born Shaun Burgoyne has played 192 AFL games for Hawthorn since 2010

AFL retirement can wait for Hawthorn great Shaun Burgoyne.

In the week of his 350th senior match, the revered four-time premiership player is upbeat about playing beyond this season.

Nicknamed Silk, he is surely one of few Hawks players who can joke about annoying coach Alastair Clarkson in his office, two or three times a day.

The 35-year-old is the last survivor of the group of Hawks premiership greats who have either retired or are playing elsewhere as Clarkson has re-worked the list in the past two years.

While Sam Mitchell, Jordan Lewis, Josh Gibson and Luke Hodge are all gone, Burgoyne remains a key player.

"I definitely feel like I could play another year at least," Burgoyne said.

He must also be the first AFL player in his 30s to say a hamstring injury is "exciting".

Normally, popping a hammy is a sure sign that a veteran's days are numbered.

Burgoyne missed three games earlier this season but was unfazed.

"I had my first hamstring injury ... which was something new and a bit exciting, to do a different type of rehab," he said.

"I wasn't concerned at all, I didn't actually know I'd done my hammy at the time.

"I had to ask the physios and trainers, what does it actually feel like?

"I did it in the Easter Monday game against Geelong ... and by the Wednesday I was already back running, jogging, just working through the rehab."

He laughed when asked about reaching 400 matches and replied "potentially".

Burgoyne notes he has a good role in the team, being able to play in the midfield, forward or back to great effect.

"As long as I keep executing that role and don't have any injuries, it just comes back to mentally, how strong I am to push through," he said.

Then there are those regular chats with Clarkson.

"His message hasn't changed, 'keep getting a kick, stay injury free and you could potentially keep going on'," he said.

"But of late ... he's asked me to play a bit more of a mentoring role.

"Those conversations haven't changed and I pop into his office whenever I want, two or three times a day if I want.

"Sometimes it's just to annoy him."

Reaching 350 looked unthinkable in late 2009, when he arrived at Hawthorn after 157 games and a premiership at Port Adelaide.

He was on crutches because of knee surgery and Burgoyne has enjoyed proving the doubters wrong, playing a crucial role in Hawthorn's 2013-15 premiership three-peat.

"I did my (first) press conference on crutches and I said I'd play my best footy for Hawthorn," he recalled.

"A lot of people laughed in my face (and) there were some people saying I wouldn't play footy again.

"It's been satisfying for myself and my wife (Amy), because we moved over (and) we didn't actually know anyone in Melbourne."