Round 1, 2011 is remembered for a few things.
Namely, Darren Milburn thumping the ball through the goals in the dying seconds to give the Cats a thrilling one point win over St Kilda, one of the 2010 grand finalists. It was also new coach Chris Scott’s first official win as Geelong coach, and his reaction in the box after the siren was almost as memorable as the win itself.
Another significant thing happened that day, possibly more important than the result, and that was the quiet debut of one Cam Guthrie. Of course it was easy for any young player to get lost among the imposing names that packed every line for Geelong throughout that era, but Guthrie did make an impression on his debut, albeit a modest one.
Initially tasked with following Saints champ Nick Del Santo around in the first half, Guthrie started to find his own footy as the game went on and in a manner that would eventually come to be familiar to Cats fans, he found Mitch Duncan with a long ball in the third quarter, setting up a crucial Cats goal.
Of course, being blonde and wearing Gary Ablett’s old number 29 means he was never going to escape attention entirely but there was enough shown that day to think he might make a go of it at AFL level.
But a best and fairest, an All-Australian blazer and a life member of the Geelong Football Club?
That’s another thing entirely. And yet here we are.
Along with close friend Mark Blicavs, the ever-personable Guthrie will be awarded for life membership of his beloved Cats.
Guthrie was reflective when asked about it this week.
“It's really nice to be recognised for my input over the last 12 years of my career,” Guthrie told geelongcats.com.au.
“I feel like I've dedicated a lot of myself to the Geelong Football Club and it's truly humbling to get some recognition back the other way.”
11 years after that life altering day at the MCG, and now joined at GMHBA Stadium by brother Zach, Guthrie is now in striking distance of the 300 club, of which only six players in Geelong history have been granted entry.
It’s a prospect that clearly means a lot to the boy from Sunbury.
“Even now I can't believe I've played over 200 games and I'm on track, form and injury willing, to possibly play 300 for this club.”