Tom McDonald set for milestone match

MILESTONE MAN: Tom McDonald, pictured playing in round eight against the Western Bulldogs, will play his 50th AFL match today against Collingwood at the MCG. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

MILESTONE MAN: Tom McDonald, pictured playing in round eight against the Western Bulldogs, will play his 50th AFL match today against Collingwood at the MCG. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

MELBOURNE defender Tom McDonald will play his 50th AFL match for the Demons against Collingwood at the Melbourne Cricket Ground today.

McDonald, who played his junior football at Edenhope-Apsley, was selected by the Demons with pick number 53 in the 2010 AFL draft.

The 22-year-old key defender has established himself as a vital member of the Paul Roos-coached side, playing in all 10 matches this season.

McDonald said the milestone had come around quickly.

"I didn't play much in my first season, but since then I've been able to be in the side pretty consistently," he told DeeTV on Thursday.

"There's been ups and downs a fair few downs on the actual field but there is still a lot of excitement playing AFL even when we were losing quite a bit.

"But this season seems to have validated a lot of the hard work that's going in, we're starting to see a few results and it's good to see things come from what you put in rather than just struggling down the bottom like we have the past couple of years."

The Demons have not won a Queen's Birthday clash against the Magpies since 2007, with the past three meetings heading in the Magpies' favour by an average winning margin of 71 points.

McDonald said he would likely have some nerves running out in front of a big crowd.

"I'll be pretty nervous I think," he said. "I don't normally get nervous before the games, but when there's a big crowd in the warm-up you feel as though everyone's watching everything you do.

"It definitely brings a bit of added intensity to the start of the game."

McDonald said while it was nice to celebrate 50 games, he looked forward to hopefully reaching other milestones further down the track.

"Hopefully it's only a quarter of the way or a fifth of the way into my career," he said.

"It's exciting to know I've played 50 games and probably beaten the average AFL footballer in terms of games played, so it's nice to get here but I'm looking forward to the next 150 to 200."

McDonald highlighted a win against Richmond this year as one of his career highlights along with getting drafted.

The match starts at 3.20pm.

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