LUKE Clarke isn't one to beat his own drum.
The self-deprecating Magpie is quick to talk down his impact at Camperdown but others, such as coach and great mate Neville Swayn, are aware of the loyal footballer's contribution.
Clarke will become just the 17th person in club history to play 200 senior games when he runs out against Hampden league opponent Port Fairy on Saturday.
"We have been close mates for a long time. He doesn't show much emotion - his family and his teammates think more of the 200 games than he does, he's very laid-back with that sort of stuff," Swayn said of the man affectionately known as 'Pup'.
"He's been a good player for a long, long time. His last 100 have been a lot slower than his first 100.
"He was on target to break the games record here and then he started to get a few niggles and then we had a couple of years off (due to COVID-19).
"He's a really good bloke. He's one of those guys who doesn't say a lot but everyone loves him."
Clarke - a club best-and-fairest winner in 2014 and member of the Magpies' 2018 grand final team - said the milestone was a long time in the making.
"I probably shouldn't be playing really - I am sore as every week," he joked.
"I can still plod around. I still know how to play football, I just can't get to where I want to anymore.
"Everyone is just so fit and quick. I still try my best.
"I am stoked to be able to get there and say thank you to people like mum (Leanne) for being there the whole time.
"There is going to be a fair few family there and (former teammate) Billy Arnold is coming back down from Noosa to watch.
"I think there's going to be a few mates from Geelong. It will be a really good day and it will be something to look forward to."
Clarke, who paid credit to partner Jaimie and his late father Ivan, conceded he found it harder to impact games now he's on the plus-side of 30.
"Neville after the game always comes up and tells everyone 'good job' and now he's like 'you tried hard'," he laughed.
"Mum always talks to me and messages me after games and she'd say 'you played alright son' - she used to say that a lot and now she says 'you tried hard son'."
Unlike many of his teammates, the Wannon Water employee is crying out for wet weather football.
"We haven't had much rain and I sort of need a heavy nine track because everyone is so tall and quick and then there's little old me," he said.
"It is very hard work but if it starts raining it might be different."
Clarke said his friendship with Swayn was special.
"He really wanted me to get to 200 because I was stuck on 196 for years," he said.
"Last year we joked and I said 'you should've just played me because it was a null season (because of COVID)'.
"I never got to play (seniors) because I got injured."
Clarke said Swayn's contribution to the Magpies was significant with the non-playing coach going above and beyond.
"He loves it, the little fella. He's really good with the kids and puts in so much work with the kids," he said.
"Every Sunday I ask him to go for a hit of golf and and he'll be like 'nah, I'm doing the review, watching video'."
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