West Coast ruckman Dean Cox has declared he wants to play on next year, and says he would jump at the chance to play finals football this season – even from the unusual position of ninth spot.
Cox will sign a new one-year deal in the coming weeks, extending his decorated career into a 14th season.
The 270-game veteran is on track to surpass Glen Jakovich’s club record of 276 games next year, and the six-time All-Australian hasn’t ruled out playing on in 2015.
And with Essendon in danger of losing premiership points over their controversial 2012 supplements program, Cox would have no qualms if the Eagles qualified for this year’s finals series from ninth spot.
“I’d be happy with it,” Cox said on Monday.
“It wouldn’t bother me. I think that’s out of everyone’s control.
“If we play finals because we come ninth, and the AFL allow you to do that, well so be it.
“We’ll be playing fifth and we’ll give them a good crack.”
The Eagles sit just 1.2 per cent behind the ninth-placed Blues, and would likely need two wins from games against Geelong (Patersons), Collingwood (MCG) and Adelaide (Patersons) if they are to leapfrog the Blues.
Cox is just one of three Eagles who have played every game this season, along with youngsters Andrew Gaff and Jack Darling.
The 32-year-old premiership ruckman said his body had held up well despite taking on an increased workload in the absence of ruck partner Nic Naitanui, who has missed most of the year with groin issues.
Cox had a bit of a chuckle when asked whether he could reach the 300-game mark.
But he said it would be a humbling experience if he could beat Jakovich’s club games record.
“When I was young I certainly idolised the way Jacko played,” Cox said of the two-time premiership defender.
“I was fortunate enough to play three or four seasons with him.”
The Eagles are set to be boosted by the return of midfielder Luke Shuey for Saturday night’s home clash with Geelong.
West Coast received a big confidence-boost in Sunday’s 53-point win over Essendon, but Cox said the team would need to take their game to an ever higher level against the second-placed Cats.