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Thursday, June 16, 2022 - 5:23 PM by Chris Pike

ONLY 12 other men have ever done what Dylan Main has already done by captaining South Fremantle to a WAFL premiership and now he cements his place further at the Bulldogs by reaching 100 games.

Provided Main is selected to make his league return for South Fremantle for this Saturday's clash with Perth at Fremantle Community Bank Oval, the occasion will see the 2020 premiership skipper play his 100th match for the Bulldogs.

That will see him have his name etched forever onto the No. 21 locker for a club that he's spent his lifetime in football at, and where he has no plans of finishing up at anytime soon with his eyes on earning life membership by getting to 150 games.

The journey to the 100-game milestone at South Fremantle has taken a little longer than Main would have anticipated given he played his 87th match for the Bulldogs when he captained them to the 2020 premiership triumph.

Coming off the high of the premiership glory, Main's 2021 season never really ever got going because of a persistent foot complain which saw him sidelined for the most part from Round 10 onwards.

He did make it back for one game in Round 17 and tried bravely to battle through in the second semi-final, but it was never quite right and he went on to miss the preliminary final win over Claremont and Grand Final loss to Subiaco.

It has now been a frustrating start to the 2022 season for Main too in his fifth year since replacing South Fremantle's longest serving skipper Ryan Cook in the role.

While he has overcome the foot complaint, he injured a hamstring back in Round 4 and only just made it back last Sunday when he made a strong return in the reserves against East Perth with 28 possessions, seven marks and five tackles.

That should have him on track to lead Perth into battle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval this Saturday afternoon. Should that happen, he will celebrate his 100th game for South Fremantle and secure his name on the No. 21 locker.

Following the frustrations since the 2020 premiership, Main can't wait to get back out there to lead the Bulldogs and is hoping for a good run physically for a little while now too.

"It has been a frustrating year and-a-half that's for sure and I'm getting used to sitting on the sidelines which isn’t good at all," Main said.

"I managed to get the boots on for the weekend for the first time in five weeks and the hammy felt all good, and I got through the game. Hopefully I get selected this week in the ones and the body's feeling good at the moment. 

"The foot is all fine from last year, touchwood, so hopefully I can get a clean run at it from here now and keep injury free for the rest of the year. That's the plan."

Main's place in South Fremantle history is already secured when in 2020 he joined Frank Collins (1916, 17), Ross Hutchinson (1947), Clive Lewington (1948, 50), Harry Carbon (1952), Steve Marsh (1953), Frank Treasure (1954), Hassa Mann (1970), Noel Carter (1980), Jon Dorotich (1997), Peter Worsfold (1997), David Gault (2005) and Toby McGrath (2009) as premiership captains.

However, by reaching 100 games it's another accolade to add to his legacy as he continues to live out a boyhood dream by playing with South Fremantle.

Main came through the development squads with the Bulldogs, was part of a successful colts era where he played in a premiership in 2012 and then was a key member of the team that made a third straight Grand Final in 2013.

He was drafted to the West Coast Eagles following that and that meant he had to begin his WAFL league career with East Perth due to the alignment. His first 18 league appearances were with the Royals.

However, Main returned to South Fremantle in 2016 and has remained ever since quickly becoming a key member of the team that would end up playing in the last six preliminary finals, and three Grand Finals, and that he's been captain of since 2018.

To now be about to play his 100th game for South Fremantle is something that means the world to Main, but he's far from ready to start thinking he's anywhere near content with what he's achieved yet.

"It's an absolutely honour, that's for sure. I've grown up my whole life supporting the club and now I've played with them ever since the development sides as long as when I was 13," Main said.

"The club means everything to me, it's become like my family so to be able to play 100 games is something I'm extremely honoured about when I pull on the jumper again. I feel like it's a long time coming getting to the 100 over the last year and-a-half but hopefully I've got here now. 

"Now that I have, I don’t want to stop here and want to get life membership, and play as many games as I can for such a great club. Hopefully I can get some more premierships along the way as well."

After Main successfully returned in the reserves on Sunday against East Perth, he was boundary side to watch the league side in action and eventually beat the Royals 11 points in a hard fought contest.

He was impressed by the fighting performance from the team that he now hopes to be part of again starting this Saturday.

"The conditions probably weren’t great for footy but it dried up slightly for the start of the game. It was always going to be hard fought and a contested brand of footy, and I thought the boys in that area played pretty well and grinded away," he said. 

"East Perth has always been a bit of our bogey team and they seem to match up well with us, and they have beaten us a few times in the last few years. 

"It was always going to be a tight contest but I thought the boys stood up well and even when East Perth were coming at the end there we still held up and managed to get away with the four wins. I was super proud of what the boys did."

Perth might be struggling so far this season having won just two of their opening eight matches ahead of the Demons coming to Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday, but there's no chance Main or any other members of the Bulldogs will be taking anything for granted against them.

"They have got us a few times in the last few years as well so they will have their heads up against us. They probably haven't performed the way they wanted to thus far this year so I'm sure they will come out firing, but it's at our home ground and we play pretty well at home," Main said.

"I think the boys will get their heads into gear for this game and fire away. Hopefully we can try and put four quarters because we kind of haven't really done that too much this year aside from the Peel game.

"As long as we can control what we can control and play the full four quarters then I think the rest will take care of itself. We definitely can't take Perth lightly, though, that's for sure."