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250 for Howie

Saturday, 11th May, 2019

Bulldogs’ champion Codie Howard lines up for game 250 today. PICTURE: Tyler Hannigan Bulldogs’ champion Codie Howard lines up for game 250 today. PICTURE: Tyler Hannigan

By Tyler Hannigan

North’s Codie Howard adds to his already illustrious resume today when he lines up for game number 250 against Central at the Memorial Oval.

Howard, who is also North’s coach for 2019, has played in seven North premiership sides (2004, ‘07, ‘08, ‘11, ‘12, ‘13, ‘16), captaining five of them. 

Individually, Howard won back-to-back Lionel Johnston Medals in 2007 (tied with Tim Ferguson) and 2008, represented Broken Hill on numerous occasions and has won multiple best and fairest awards with the Bulldogs.

He admits that the game has changed since he first started but that he hasn’t had to change his own style too much over the journey.

“The game locally is definitely a lot quicker and structured than when I first started playing and there definitely isn’t as many big bumps or tackles,” Howard explained. 

“As for my style, I don’t think the way I play is really much different  - probably more my leadership style, and that comes with age.”

When quizzed on his favourite teammates, Howard said that it’s too difficult to narrow it down but did reveal a few of his tougher opponents.

“Favourite teammates is too hard a question to answer.

“So many guys have been such a big part of my life I would hate to single out a couple and not acknowledge all of them.” 

“As for my toughest opponents, I still have nightmares about playing on Loccy McGregor,” he added. 

“I have always enjoyed the rivalry with Daniel Milne, Justin Heath and Phil Neal as well.”

His playing career alone qualifies him among the very best to wear the blue and white but he’s now turned his hand to coaching while still playing a considerably high level having been North’s best player in their opening two games this season.

“The body is feeling great but I just need to ensure I am leading from the front in terms of what we expect as a football club and that has to start on the field,” Howard said.

“I don’t think there is much difference between the challenges of being a playing coach or a coach in general. 

“I’ve said a few times that it comes down to the team you have around you and the trust in that team. With assistant coaches Ayrton Walker, Darren Tangey and Mitch Reberger we are all on the same page which makes it work well.”

While it might be going well for Howard, his team has struggled in the opening two rounds but he believes they’re headed in the right direction.

“While it’s not the most ideal start to the season I believe we are on the right track and just need to keep patient with our new game plan,” he said. 

“We are playing in patches at the moment and when we can bring that consistency, we will be a strong North unit.”

Given all that Howard has already achieved in his 15-year career he could be forgiven for wanting to step-back and coast but that’s not his style.

“Continued team success is a big motivator for me as well as being able to teach and bring through this next generation of footballers. We have some really talented young players out our club and I get a real kick out of seeing these lads improve.”

“I’ll be aiming for 300 games but I have always said that you are a long time retired and I will play for as long as my body holds up.

“(My wife) Holly has been an absolute rock my whole career and I can honestly say I don’t know if I could of even reached this milestone without her love and support.” 

Away from football, Howard is a brilliant cricketer who just completed one of the best all-around seasons in recent memory to be named as the Barrier District Cricket League’s Denis Watts medalist for 2018/19.

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