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Learning on the job

BTV: Brent Stanton Media Conference - Mar 29 Stants chats to the media ahead of his 250th game.

Brent Stanton was playing just his fourth game when Kevin Sheedy assigned his 18-year-old recruit one of the toughest jobs in football.

Run with Nigel Lappin.

It was round 12 of the 2004 season and Lappin’s Lions were chasing their fourth straight premiership.

Lappin was a three-time All-Australian and would be named amongst the AFL’s best for a fourth time by season’s end. 

Stanton was still finding his way in the game but Sheedy had a plan. 

“He [Sheedy] showed me a work ethic that I needed to get to,” Stanton said.

“He put me on Nigel Lappin, one of the hardest workers that I’ve ever come up against and that’s really where I wanted to step my game up to.

“Hopefully I can emulate a little bit of what he did in his career.”

Stanton first met Sheedy at the AFL Draft Camp in 2003.

Essendon didn’t have much contact with the Northern Knights prospect in the lead up to the selection meeting but swooped with the 13th pick.

A Carlton fan as a child, Stanton admired the feats of Anthony Koutoufides and Michael Voss alongside renowned runners Robert Harvey and Craig Bradley.

Running had always been part of Stanton’s routine.

“Growing up I was always in cross-country and any athletics I could be a part of,” he told Bomber Radio.

“I really enjoy running – some people dislike it – but it is something I enjoy and I’ll do it for the rest of my life because it is a release from everything.”

Stanton played 15 games in his first season, 19 the next and played in at least 20 in the following ten.

On Saturday he’ll join Essendon champions including Dustin Fletcher, Simon Madden, Dick Reynolds, Tim Watson and James Hird in the exclusive 250 game Club.

“You don’t really think about it while you’re still going in your career, you just want to play as many games as you can,” Stanton said.

“To be amongst those names is special, but in the end it’s more about team success.

“I’m very honoured to play this amount of games for such a great Club with a rich history.”