Fitness guru reveals key to Pavlich success
Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich is a genetic freak but supreme dedication is the real reason he is surpassing Shane Parker’s games record, according to former Dockers fitness coach Ben Tarbox.
Pavlich will play his 239th game on Saturday, and overtake the record which has stood since Parker’s final game in round 14, 2007.
The five-times best and fairest and six-times All-Australian will achieve the feat having missed only eight games since making his debut in round five, 2000.
He has played more games than any player selected in the 1999 national draft even though several opponents have played more finals.
Tarbox, who worked at Fremantle from 2005-08, said Pavlich’s preparation set him apart.
“His durability is amazing,” Tarbox said. “Genetically he is very lucky but because he is so considered with what he does, he makes the most of everything.
“I have very rarely met someone who is so good on and off the field. “He’s always one of the best at training. He was always one of the best at coming back to pre-season in good condition.
“When he needs to, he has the ability to take things to a level that is above and beyond other athletes.
“His capacity to compete under duress is amazing. You get a lot of fantastic burst athletes who have no endurance and vice versa but Pav has both.
“We always talked about footballer versus athlete. Pav is both.”
Records and Pavlich go hand in hand. He is the club record holder for All-Australian jumpers, best and fairests, career goals, Brownlow Medal votes, consecutive games, goals in a season, goals in finals and is also the equal record holder for most finals matches.
Pavlich needs to play 18 games this season to break Peter Bell’s record of 107 games as captain.
But the 29-year-old played down the significance of the games record, saying victory over Adelaide would be more satisfying.
Pavlich credited a busy schedule for a major role in his success.
Along with being Fremantle captain, he is on the AFL Players’ Association board and has an important role as part of the AFL Laws of the Game committee.
“I’m certainly one of the modern day players that has got a variety of things to do each week both within the game and outside of the game,” Pavlich said.
“To have that balance in my life has been unbelievably vital. To be able to compartmentalise my life, and focus on the things at particular stages which are important.”
Pavlich dismissed talk of him becoming the first Fremantle or West Coast player to reach 300 games saying he never looked beyond the next match.
But when reflecting on the toughest opponents of his career, Pavlich’s record of being an All-Australian defender, midfielder and forward was obvious.
“(As a defender) Alastair Lynch, Warren Tredrea, David Neitz,” Pavlich said. “James Hird, Nathan Buckley I played on a little bit. As a forward, Matthew Scarlett, Ben Rutten, Darren Glass.
“There’s been some good ones.”