300 games latest on Culcairn's Brent Barber's list of laurels

Culcairn’s Brent Barber says he is honoured to be playing his 300th match for Lions.

Culcairn’s Brent Barber says he is honoured to be playing his 300th match for Lions.

DUAL Azzi medallist, premiership player, best and fairest winner, captain, coach, Hume league representative and now a 300-gamer.

There is little Brent Barber hasn’t achieved since making his debut for Culcairn as a 17-year-old in 1996 under coach Ken Mansell.

Barber, 36, is set to join club legends Splinter Liston, Harry Gardiner, Hayden Hensel, Garry Smith, Barry Godde and Scott McGrath as 300-game players when the Lions clash with Howlong on Saturday.

“I certainly never imagined making it to 300 games, but it is something I am pretty excited about and proud to be able to achieve at my home club,” Barber said.

“To become only the seventh player to reach the milestone, considering the club’s rich and proud history is fairly humbling.”

While Barber’s career is littered with personal highlights, including Azzi medals in 2004-07 and club best and fairest in 2012, it is the 2007 flag triumph against Osborne that Barber cherishes the most.

“Winning the flag in 2007 is easily my biggest highlight for sure,” he said.

“In 18 years of footy, it is the only senior premiership I have got, so it’s certainly pretty special.”

Barber has spent his entire career with the Lions except for a season with North Albury in 2000 and a year with Trinity Beach in 2002.

He managed seven senior games for the Hoppers and was part of the reserves flag after both sides made the decider.

The classy utility co-coached the Lions in 2005, alongside Allen Abele, before taking the coaching reins by himself the following season.

Barber rates the 2005 season, when the Lions were ninth midway through the season but reeled off seven consecutive wins to almost pinch a fairytale flag, as another enormous high.

He pinpointed Graham Fruean, Scott McGrath and Michael Killeen as his most talented teammates, with all three also Azzi medallists.

Barber said spiralling player payments was the biggest change he had noticed over the journey.

“Years ago, each team would be made up of 15 or 16 local blokes with a few recruits brought into the side,” he said.

“But now it’s probably the other way round with the clubs needing to pay big money just to stay competitive.

“What annoys me the most is the majority of players who are asking for decent money wouldn’t be in your top-five players at the club.”

Barber said he was still weighing up his playing future and would let the dust settle on this season before making a decision about next year.

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