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Two different football journeys

Documentary: Josh Thomas - 1038 Days In 2015, Collingwood pair Josh Thomas and Lachlan Keeffe accepted two-year bans after testing positive to banned substance clenbuterol. Thomas made his return to senior football against Hawthorn in round 14, 1038 days after his last senior appearance in the final game of 2014. Collingwood Media tells the story of Thomas' journey between his 32nd and 33rd games.

Saturday night’s match against St Kilda marks important landmarks in the careers of two Collingwood players.

The milestones are markedly different. In fact, they are separated by 100 games. But the points of difference behind each player’s milestone help underscore their achievement.

If selected, Josh Thomas will celebrate his 50th senior game, while Jeremy Howe is scheduled to run out for his 150th senior appearance.

Josh Thomas
The great survivor
Few footballers can claim to be as patient as Josh Thomas.

He had to wait on draft night.

He had to wait to debut.

He had to wait on his career, as he sat out a two-year suspension.

He has had to wait 3,096 days to play his 50th senior game.

These are the numbers behind ‘JT’s long journey to game No. 50.

3,096 – days between the night Thomas was drafted in 2009 and his 50th senior game (if selected)

1,038 – days between Thomas’ 32nd and 33rd senior games due to his two-year suspension

128 – teammates Thomas has had during his nine years on Collingwood’s list (including his two years out suspended)

75 – the selection used to draft Thomas in the 2009 National Draft

74 – new players selected by AFL clubs in the National Draft

60.2% – Thomas’ winning record in 49 AFL games

50 – VFL games Thomas has played

40 – the number Thomas wore in his first season, 2010

30 – players still on an AFL list who were drafted in the 2009 National Draft

17 – consecutive games Thomas has played since returning to the senior side against Hawthorn in round 15, 2017. His previous best streak was 14 in 2013

6 – games in which Thomas was used as a substitute (between 2013 and 2014)

6 – players remaining on Collingwood’s list from 2010 (Jarryd Blair, Tyson Goldsack, Scott Pendlebury, Ben Reid, Steele Sidebottom and Thomas)

3 – years Thomas had to wait before making his senior debut in round one, 2013

2 – players left on Collingwood’s list who played in the opening round of the 2010 season against the Western Bulldogs (the match was Thomas’ first while officially on the list; the players are Scott Pendlebury and Steele Sidebottom)

2 – years Thomas and teammate Lachlan Keeffe sat out of the game due to a suspension for violating the AFL’s drug code

Josh Thomas trains at Victoria Park during the 2010 pre-season.

Jeremy Howe
A high-flyer with big aspirations
Like Thomas, Jeremy Howe has taken the road less travelled to the top.

Drafted at the age of 20, Howe’s path to football’s highest level didn’t just happen overnight.

He completed four years of an electrical apprenticeship at home in Tasmania, and still turned up to work less than 24 hours after being drafted to the Dees. Melbourne used pick No. 33 to draft him from Hobart, via Dodges Ferry.

It hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for the 27-year-old.

In 149 senior games, Howe has played in only 43 wins, at a winning percentage of 29.19.

Things are on the gradual improve at Collingwood, where he has a 42 per cent winning record.

Howe has been remarkably durable over the journey. He has missed only four senior games since debuting for the Demons in round 11, 2011, and has made his mark – literally – at both ends of the ground.

Those marks have earned 32 nominations for the AFL’s best grab of the year, an overall award he won in 2012.

Howe played an even 100 games for Melbourne, and has added a further 49 with Collingwood, meaning this week’s match is a double milestone (50 with Collingwood and 150 in the AFL).

Speaking of numbers, Howe has wore the same No. 38 in all 149 of his senior games.

Should he reach 100 games as a Magpie, he will join 1976 Copeland Trophy winner Robert Hyde as the only players to have their name on Collingwood’s No. 38 locker.

Howe fights for the ball against Dane Swan, Dale Thomas and Jarryd Blair on the Queen's Birthday in 2012.