Tony Notte is likely to be the last person to achieve a feat only previously reached by a mere handful of WA’s football’s greatest figures.

The lanky ironman will play his 300th WAFL match on Saturday when Swan Districts take on Subiaco.

It is an extraordinary achievement.

It has taken year after year of unstinting effort, remarkably durability of body and strength of mind, extreme patience and a narrow band of talent sufficient to underwrite a splendid career lasting nearly two decades without having the X-factor that would have drawn AFL scouts to his front door.

The enormity of Notte’s milestone deserves widespread recognition though the reality is that the spotlight may spend only the briefest period on his feat.

He is the seventh player to reach a triple-century.

West Perth team-mates Mel Whinnen (371 games) and Bill Dempsey (343), Mr Football Jack Sheedy (332), Brian Peake (315), Bill Walker (305) and Kris Miller ( 303) were the only other WAFL footballers to reach the mark.

Other West Australian stars, including greats Graham Farmer, Barry Cable, Steve Malaxos and Graham Moss, are among a cohort of 44 players whose career triple-century has included time in the AFL, VFL or SANFL.

Getting plenty more AFL players to 300 is not inconceivable, even with the tyranny of travel, but the prospect of a player good enough, motivated enough and available enough to do so in the state league is a harder ask.

West Perth stalwart Aaron Black is the closest on 262 games but he would need to play to at least the second half of 2026 to raise his bat.

Black is a phenomenon but he has found the going harder this season and his longevity is sure to be tested over the coming months.

Notte’s resilience and ability to read the play have been his greatest traits.

WAFL elimination final between Swan Districts and West Perth at Steel Blue (Bassendean Oval).
Tony Notte.

He revealed in 2015, on the eve of his 150th consecutive match, that he had twice ruptured medial ligaments in his knees but didn’t miss a match despite the critical injuries.

“I’ve played plenty of games when I probably shouldn’t have but managed to find a way to get on the park,” Notte told me at the time.

“The toughest was two years ago when I ruptured both medial ligaments but Stiffy (coach Greg Harding) needed me to play and so I strapped the knees up and got out there.

“We needed wins then, just as we do now, and that’s when the senior players have to step up.”

Notte was on track to wrest the WAFL’s consecutive games record of 219 from another Swan Districts defender in Joel Cornelius only to be stymied by the cruellest fortune in his 194th game.

 Notte sustained a head cut in a game in Kalgoorlie and without a doctor present to stitch him up, was taken to hospital for the straightforward procedure where the mandatory COVID test revealed he had contracted the virus despite not showing any symptoms nor feeling any different to normal.

The forced lay-off ended his streak behind Cornelius (219), Graham Scott (205) and Aidan Parker (197) while the widespread furphy that Stephen Michael (188) held the record was demolished during the subsequent scrutiny of the WAFL’s historical records.

Notte also revealed the absence of any magic potion for his longevity but recognised that his career-long diligence was crucial.

“I am lucky I have never had any serious soft-tissue injuries but I am pretty diligent with my preparation and I don’t like missing any training or pre-season sessions,” he said.

“I have been doing it for so long that it would be awkward to miss a game.

“I’ve ruptured the medials, had a Baker’s cyst behind my knee for a while and split the webbing in my hand pretty badly a couple of years ago and needed to get it stitched for a few weeks, but apart from that I have been pretty smart with my body.”

Lucky, smart or strong, Notte has demonstrated traits rare in WA football history,

He deserves all the accolades that should come his way this week and beyond.

IMAGE: The West Australian