AN Eastern Park footballer is set to lace up his boots and pull on a guernsey for the 500th time, as he prepares for an unprecedented footballing milestone.
Richard Richie Carter, 48, is the Eastern Park Football Club’s (EPFC) current games recordholder and will become the first EPFC player to reach the 500- game milestone when his C4 side takes on Smosh West Lakes on Saturday.
Mr Carter said he “doesn’t know how to feel” ahead of the big day and believes he won’t truly appreciate the significance of the milestone until his playing career comes to an end.
“To me, it’s like another game of footy,” he said.
“It’s a big achievement, but I don’t really know how to look forward to it – maybe it’ll hit me this week, but I don’t believe it will until I’ve finished playing and I look back over my career.”
Mr Carter began his senior playing career back in 1988 and has played all but one season since then.
In 2002, a shoulder injury that required surgery ended his season, while he took a year off in 2006 to be the club’s A-grade runner.
As a tribute to Richie’s milestone, EPFC has organised a special 500-game guernsey for the team to wear on the day.
The special guernsey is designed as a throwback to the 1988 season and features the original EPFC logo on the front.
In addition, the guernsey also features all the names of those who have played over 100 games for the club.
Mr Carter said, while he’s resigned to the fact that nobody will ever beat his record, he’d love to see someone beat him.
“I’d love for someone to beat it,” he said.
“I’m proud of this footy club, it’s home to me and I wouldn’t want to play anywhere else.
“I just love this place and I wish other people from outside could see how good this club is.”
Mr Carter’s career resume includes seven grand final appearances – including three premierships – as well as “about 40-odd” additional games he played as a junior.
Mr Carter’s 19-year-old son, Brad, played seven seasons as a junior footballer at EPFC, but couldn’t be convinced to come out of his own retirement to play one more game.
“(The club) tried to talk (Brad) into playing this week, but he hasn’t played footy for around four years, so he has decided not to in the end,” he said.
“I have this little motto I say to myself, which is, ‘physically, while I can do it; mentally, while I’m enjoying it, why not keep going?”.