INSTANT respect - that's what Brendan McCartney recalls of Joel Selwood's early days at Geelong.
McCartney was an assistant coach at Geelong when the Cats took the 18-year-old from Bendigo with pick No.7 in the 2006 National Draft.
That was back in late November of 2006, and while McCartney moved on from the Cats a decade ago, Selwood will this week play game No.300 for Geelong.
"We had met Joel early. He came down and spent a week with us at Geelong while he was part of the AIS squad, but he couldn't do much because of his knee," McCartney said in Bendigo this week.
"What struck me at first was the person he was and then when we were lucky enough to draft him after other clubs saw fit not to take a risk on him with his knee, what we saw from day one was just an incredible workrate and drive.
"At the heart of all great players is a competitive streak and he has that. He plays fair and he plays within the rules... always has and always will.
At the heart of all great players is a competitive streak and he has that. He plays fair and he plays within the rules... always has and always will.Brendan McCartney
"Competitive people always find a way, and if there's an area in their game that isn't at the level they want, they work on it and he was always so coachable.
"In what become a super team (Selwood won three flags in his first five years) he was respected instantly by people who had already been playing for 10 or 12 years.
"200-game players immediately respected him for what he stood for and that has never changed.
"So probably the best way to sum up Joel is he's an incredible person and player for the club and over the 14 years he has been playing I've never seen him flinch or take a backwards step.
"He has never not gone out on to a ground and not given everything for his club and that's an incredible thing to say."
Selwood, 32, will play his 300th game for the Cats against the Gold Coast Suns at Kardinia Park on Saturday.
Selwood's football journey started as a nine-year-old with St Therese's in the Bendigo Junior Football League.
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