10 September 1981 (age 41)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 28y 213d
Last game: 32y 355d
Height and weight
Height: 193 cm
Weight: 100 kg
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
|Geelong Reserves||VFL||2009, 2012||18||69||3.83||—||—||—||—||—|
AFL: 11,831st player to appear, 2,284th most games played, 423rd most goals kickedGeelong: 1,021st player to appear, 206th most games played, 48th most goals kickedAdelaide: 197th player to appear, 158th most games played, 87th most goals kicked
The story of James Podsiadly's football career surely ranks as one of the most unusual in the game's history. The man known to teammates as 'Pods' and the wider world as 'the J-Pod' did not take up the game until age 17, having until then been a fine young tennis player. Though he took up the game at a late age, he made enough of an impact to get the attention of the Western Jets under-18s team and subsequently Essendon.
For reasons that even today are still unclear, Podsiadly did not do enough in the Dons' reserves team to suggest he could take the next step and he moved to VFL club Williamstown (Collingwood's reserves team at the time) and played several pre-season AFL games as a rookie with the Magpies. Again he could not break into senior AFL ranks and the 2003 season saw him on the move once more, this time to another VFL side, Werribee.
Podsiadly enjoyed six fruitful seasons at the Tigers, leading the VFL goal-kicking (and playing in the Grand Final loss) in 2005 and winning the Liston Trophy as the competition's best and fairest in 2008. During this period he trained with the Western Bulldogs and Richmond but once more was overlooked as a potential senior AFL player. His big break came in 2009 when he took up dual role as a VFL player and fitness coach Geelong. The Cats saw enough in him to draft him as a rookie (now aged 28) in the 2009 draft.
Finally getting his chance at AFL level in round 3, 2010, Podsiadly kicked two goals on debut against Fremantle and followed up with a five-goal haul a week later against Port Adelaide, immediately establishing himself as a permanent member of the side. 18 months later his fairytale rise had a wonderful climax when he was a member of Geelong's Grand Final win over Collingwood, albeit in a limited capacity because of a shoulder injury sustained in the second quarter.
After giving Geelong four years of fine service, the club and Podsiadly parted ways after 2013 but his AFL career was not to end there. He moved to Adelaide as a free agent and became a permanent member of the Crows' team, providing a third tall option in attack behind Taylor Walker and Josh Jenkins, and proving himself as an important plug in defence at times. In round 18, 2014, Podsiadly played his 100th game, becoming only the third VFL/AFL player (behind Charlie Norris and Bill Proudfoot) to do so having debuted at the age of 28 years 213 days or later.
After spending the 2015 playing in the Crows' reserves side, Podsiadly retired, drawing the curtain on a short but remarkable AFL career.
Author - Andrew Gigacz