James Hird himself handed down the No 5 to Stanton – high praise indeed
When I think of Brent Stanton I think pure gut-running ability, his laid back nature and his significant contribution to the Essendon Football Club.
Gut-running can mean injuries, yet for Stants he only missed 21 games through injury between 2004, his debut season, and 2015. How’s that for durability in the modern era? Amazing. He has 255 games to his credit, 13th all-time at the club, and a career average of 22.58 disposals per game to go with 158 goals.
Pick 13 in the 2003 national draft meant Stants played through a challenging period at the Club yet he has been one of the few constants throughout a turbulent time. Starting under Sheeds, teammates to the likes of Hird, Lloyd and Lucas in the early years, before suffering the Matthew Knights ‘era’, before jumping from, the firepan into the depths of Hell itself with the AFL-ASADA debacle. The less said about that the better, but reinforces for me that Stants was durable in both body, and mind.
Stants you were probably on a bit of a hiding to nothing taking on the number 5 jumper at Essendon straight after one of Essendons favorite sons but let’s not forget Hirdy handpicked Stants for it… mainly for the personality that he was, including the fact he continued to get the most out of himself by preparing, training and playing to elite standards. High praise indeed and really enough said….
My gut feeling is that Stants was a 50/50 at best to return this year but I’m glad he and the Club decided to do so because he has deserved it, and I am confident the Round One win over Hawthorn alone would have made it worthwhile.
Stants you lived every Essendon supporters childhood dream, 17 years at the great club and wearing the Number 5 on the big stage! It doesn’t get much better, and for all the knockers out there – and there were many – you definitely had the last laugh. And you were a great bloke to boot.
Mate enjoy retirement, I have no doubt you will succeed at coaching and or whatever you decide to do. That might include going out to stud – for two kids isn’t enough, so get cracking!