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Derby a motivator for Sandi's 250th

Aaron Sandilands will play his 250th game against West Coast this Saturday. Aaron Sandilands speaks to the media ahead of his 250th AFL game.

Saturday’s Carlton Draught Derby at Domain Stadium will have an added significance for Fremantle with Aaron Sandilands playing his 250th game. 

Sandilands will become the third player to play 250 games for Fremantle, and the ruckman said he’s looking forward to the challenge of playing his milestone game in a derby.

“Playing West Coast for my 250th is something I didn’t get much say in, but it’s always good to be able to play in a derby,” Sandilands said.

“The whole state gets behind it, a lot of families have both West Coast and Fremantle supporters in their household, so it’s great to be a part of it.”

Sandilands started his career on Fremantle’s rookie list after being taken with pick 33 in the 2001 Rookie Draft, and said he was thrilled just to break into the side when he debuted in 2003.

“At the start of my career, if someone said I’d play 250 games I’d take it,” Sandilands said.

“I would have been happy to play one let alone 250.

“It’ll be something I’ll look back on in years to come, but I’ve had a lot of support along the way from family and friends and a lot of people at the footy club.

“They’ve played a big part in it as well.”

While Sandilands will be familiar with Freo’s local rivals - having played the Eagles 23 times with a 14-9 record – he admitted that he’ll be doing his research on West Coast’s ruck duo of Jonathan Giles and Nathan Vardy.

Giles is in his second year at West Coast while Vardy arrived at the Eagles from Geelong in the 2016 off-season – with the pair sharing the ruck in the absence of the injured Nic Naitanui.

“I haven’t played against them a huge amount,” Sandilands said.

“They’ve been in pretty good form. Each week in the AFL you’ll come up against pretty good opposition and those two are no different, so it’s going to be a big challenge.

“They’ve been around the system for a long period of time, we’ll do our homework throughout the week and put a plan in place.”

While Sandilands says his focus is squarely on game 250, he said he remains open to continuing on with Fremantle beyond the 2017 season.

“It’s only round six at the moment, so for me it’s all about this week and contributing to the side,” Sandilands said.

“But if the body stands up and I can still contribute and I’m still loving it, I’ll be happy to keep going.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs