Loyal Royals’ in double milestone

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser

Close mates Mitch Curnow and Rhys Jones will share a special moment together on Sunday when the popular Royals pair reach significant personal milestones, playing in their 200th and 150th games respectively for the Lions.

The 2009 premiership teammates have spent many seasons together at the Lions and, fittingly will run through a banner alongside one another as they tackle traditional rivals Railways at Tigerland in round 7 of the Great Southern Football League.

Curnow, a dual premiership player and former Lions captain, will join a small but prestigious group of players to have reached 200 league games for the club, and Jones, having made a name for himself as a tough key defender, will get to the highly respected mark of 150 games.

After starting out as a junior for the Lions, Curnow admitted it was tough to earn a league game at a young age but said his durability had helped him to the major mark.

“It’s something you will certainly reflect on later on but I’m very proud to achieve 200 games at this club,” he said.

“These milestones just come along but I guess I have been lucky, I’ve been pretty durable over the journey.

“I knew I was getting close but it was a bit more stressful reaching 150 games.

“My first year I did the full pre-season, played the first few games and then got injured, I was in and out of the reserves for a while. You wonder how you will get a second league game early on, let alone 200.”

The Lions skipper from 2012-2014 and premiership player in 2009 and 2011 has played a variety of roles over time from midfielder to defender along with tagging.

“To reach 200 games with the likes of these guys is very humbling and I feel privileged,” the 30-year-old said.

“Rhys and I have played a lot together so it’s pretty special.”

Jones was part of the 2009 Lions premiership side but missed out on the 2011 flag; however, he has been a consistent performer in the back half for numerous seasons.

“I came down here to run water for my brother who was playing with Mitch so I’ve been here since I was a junior,” the 28-year-old said.

“I’ve seen a lot of players come through but I’m chuffed to be one of those to play 150 games.

“The milestones creep up on you but after I played 100 games it’s something I’ve wanted to do.

“To achieve an individual milestone and play probably all my 150 games with Mitch, a legend of our own footy club, is really great.”

Both players have also played several years for the GSFL at the Landmark Country Football Championships.

The Lions will be out to defeat the Tigers for the second time this season on the big day, while in the other fixtures, Albany host Mt Barker at Centennial Stadium on Saturday and Denmark-Walpole are at home against North Albany, also on Saturday.

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