ROWAN Marshall will tick off a significant career achievement this weekend, with the Portland export set to play game 100 for St Kilda.
The ruckman, who has established himself as one of the premier big men of the competition, will don the red, white and black in his milestone game at Marvel Stadium this evening, some six years after debuting in 2017.
Marshall’s career started with the Tigers in the junior ranks, with the big men kicking three goals in a losing grand final for Portland’s Under 18 side in 2013, an effort which coincided with seven games for the North Ballarat Rebels.
The following season, Marshall played for the Rebels once again and represented Vic Country at the National Championships before attending the National Draft Combine but he was overlooked in both the National and Rookie drafts.
He then turned his attention to VFL duties with the North Ballarat Roosters, combining his state league commitments with games for Sebastopol in the Ballarat Football League.
Two seasons later he was eventually drafted at pick 10 as a rookie to the Saints, leaving behind the cold Ballarat winters for the decorated halls of Moorabbin.
Fast forward seven seasons later and Marshall has become one of the key players at St Kilda, with Saints fans embracing the 27 year-old’s ability to compete fiercely both in the air and at ground level.
“It definitely gave me the hunger to get on an AFL list. I was at uni, slaving away there studying pretty hard and things like that and you’d rock up to some cold VFL training nights in Ballarat,” Marshall said of his time spent in Ballarat chasing his football dream.
“It almost made you hungrier and gave me more motivation to eventually make it and here we are six years later.
The first couple of years sort of go pretty slowly but the last four years have been pretty good.
“I missed out on getting drafted when I was 19 but I stuck at it and was lucky enough to have the Saints give me an opportunity to put me on a rookie list and here we are now.”
Marshall also credits the extra responsibility that comes with holding the Saints number one ruck mantle, which he has taken over since the retirement of Paddy Ryder, in his rise to 100 games.
“I guess the more exposure you get in the ruck, the more you learn every week,” he said.
“It was tough without Paddy there in the first couple of practice games and first couple of games of the season but you definitely learn each week when you come up against different opposition and different rucks.
“You try to nullify their strengths and work on yours but it’s been a good challenge this year and I’ve enjoyed it.”
The Saints host the Brisbane Lions, with the match set to be broadcast on Channel 7 from 7.50pm.