BALLARAT Sports Hall of Famer Mick Malthouse becomes just the second AFL coach to reach 700 games on Friday night.
The Carlton mentor will move to within 14 games of Collingwood legend Jock McHale with the clash against Hawthorn.
The game is vastly different to when Malthouse started his coaching career in 1984 with Footscray in the then VFL.
For starters, there were just 12 teams in the Victorian-based competition.
But in one respect, nothing has changed.
“The players are all the same – they’re all young men, want to make it,” said Malthouse, who grew up in Ballarat and progressed through junior playing ranks at Wendouree West to North Ballarat Roosters in the Ballarat Football League before embarking on a VFL playing career with St Kilda.
“You don’t plan it, it comes along.
“I’m very proud to have been able to last in the game, I suppose.
“But more importantly, there are so many people who have contributed.”
The three-time premiership coach said the pressure of the job, not the milestones or accolades, keep driving him.
Carlton has had a tough season and is coming off two close losses ahead of Friday night’s game against the reigning premier.
“I’m not really comfortable with it (reaching 700 games), because if we were sitting in a really good, strong position, I suppose then we can elaborate,” said the Bulldogs, West Coast, Collingwood and Carlton coach.
“You might have a little bit of respite when you have five or six (wins) on end, said Malthouse, who is in the North Ballarat hall of fame.
“I always maintain the only way I operate at my best is under pressure.
“You don’t sit back and have any comfort ... you want the intensity to be increased and stay there.
“That’s when I know I can get the best out of my players.”
Malthouse’s premierships as a coach have come with West Coast Eagles in 1992 and 1994, and Collingwood in 2010.
He is in his second year with Carlton.