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The drivers behind Cam Sutcliffe

Cam Sutcliffe will play his 100th game on Sunday against Essendon. Cam Sutcliffe chats to Docker TV ahead of his 100th AFL game.

Cam Sutcliffe shares his thoughts ahead of his 100th game, played this Sunday against Essendon at Etihad Stadium.

I’m really excited about Sunday and I’m really looking forward to sharing the experience with those who have helped me along the way.

And I can’t help but start with my family.

From my hometown of Kadina in the Yorke Peninsula, it’s a four-hour return trip to Woodville Oval in the western suburbs of Adelaide.

For five years, we made that drive up to three times a week as I worked up form a development player at Woodville West Torrrens into to the league side.

When I think about playing 100 AFL games, I think about what they did just to make sure I could train, get to games and perform at my peak.

I think about the way they motivated me when I was down and didn’t want to continue playing footy in Adelaide.

They’ve been my biggest motivators in life. I play for them, and I want to succeed for them.

Two people stand out when I reflect on my time at Woodville West Torrens.

One of my best mates, Jake von Bertouch, got drafted to Adelaide the year before me.

After missing out on the draft in 2010, he made me believe that I had every chance to get drafted the next year. Watching him succeed drove me to work a bit harder and to keep playing good footy for WWT.

Then there’s Michael Godden, who still coaches WWT, and the chat that set me on my way.

One day after training, he sat me down told me footy was a two-way game. That I was sneaking forward and not caring enough about the defensive side.

As a winger, he told me I needed to play both ends of the ground. I remember that talk changing my mindset my on how I approach the game, from being an attacking winger to playing all around the ground.

WWT is a club that’s good at finding talent. As I was from the country, they helped me out with coming down to Adelaide and making sure that I was always welcome.

They picked me up as an under 15s development player and it grew from there. They’ve always tried to play young kids early and give them a taste of league footy and I think that’s held them in good stead with the way that they perform and getting kids drafted.

At Freo, it was another Woodville product who gave me the best possible introduction to life as an AFL player.

Living with Matthew Pavlich for my first two weeks in Perth was a bit of an eye-opening experience.

He stressed the importance of diet and recovery, the extxa touch, the skills and mental side of the game as well. I took a lot from those two weeks, as well as my three years living with Nat Fyfe.

But my biggest influence at Fremantle has to be Ross Lyon.

When Ross first got to the club, he outlined some pretty strong messages about being fit and available.

He always had that faith. If you knew the game plan and were committed to learning and committed to your football, you had every chance of playing. It wasn’t just the experienced players that were going to play, it was those guys that were willing to learn and compete.

It gave me the belief that if I stayed on the track and kept myself fit, I’d be every chance to play for Fremantle.

I committed to my training and did the weights and did what was asked of me, and it went from there.

After being taken with pick no.71 in 2011, I ended up playing a few games in 2012 and built into my second year while playing in a Grand Final.

Ross has always been in my corner, as have my development coaches along the way, like Ash Prescott, Roger Hayden, Steve Grace and Brent Guerra.

To get to 100, there’s been some ups and downs but along the way, and at times it’s been pretty taxing.

But thanks to my teammates, coaches and especially the fans – it’s also been a lot of fun.

You’ve always had our back and I hope we can go out there and get the win for you on Sunday.

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