|Name||Dustin Andrew Fletcher|
Dustin Fletcher is deservedly renowned as one of the finest defenders in AFL history, dominating Essendon's defence since his debut in 1993. He is the son of former Bombers captain Ken Fletcher and is the oldest player currently playing AFL.
Fletcher was a member of the 'Baby Bombers' (Essendon's 1993 premiership team) in his first AFL season. He also played in Essendon's 2000 premiership win and received the club's 'Best and Fairest' award (the Crichton Medal). He is the only member of either of those premiership winning sides still playing AFL football. He was selected as an all-Australian player in both 2000 and 2007. Fletcher was the goalkeeper for Australia in the International Rules series in 2005, 2006 (as co-captain), and 2010.
In Round 13 of 2008, Dustin and his father Ken claimed the record of most VFL/AFL games played by a father-son combination, with 552 games between them. Fletcher played his 300th game in Round 5, 2009.
In Round 9, 2010, Fletcher played in his 322nd AFL game, overtaking a long-standing record for the second most games for the Essendon team, held by Dick Reynolds. By the end of the 2011 season, that total has risen to 347, 51 shy of Essendon's outright record holder, Simon Madden. Fletcher also holds the record of being the most watched AFL footballer of all time, with a cumulative attendance of 16,832,416 spectators at matches in which Fletcher played between 1993 to 2011.
He is currently the oldest player in the AFL, at the age of 37, and in 2012 partaking of his 20th season.
Fletcher played his 350th AFL match in Round 3, 2012, against the Gold Coast Suns.
Fletcher's execution of the torpedo punt was often used as a set-play clearing strategy by coach Kevin Sheedy. In a game in 2007, Fletcher kicked a 75 metre torpedo punt goal from ten metres behind the centre square. Again, in round 20 2009, Fletcher kicked another enormous goal, again a torpedo, in the game that ended the St Kilda Saints 19 match winning streak. According to The Sunday Age, it was the fifth longest kick in the history of the VFL/AFL. [See footnote 1]
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