When Jason Hewitt breaks the Sheffield Steelers’ appearance record next season, one man will be waiting in the shadows to shake his hand.
That will be Ron Shudra, whose 626 game club total seemed unassailable a few years ago.
But Hewitt, re-signed by the club a few days ago, is just 14 games behind Shudra’s haul, and unless he is injured, will surpass it this year.
And injury - or resistance to it - is one factor that has been behind Hewitt’s consistency, says Shudra.
“Hewy has got great character and that has shown through during these past 10 seasons and now into an 11th” said ‘Rocket Ron.’
“He has stayed healthy which is important; but you don’t play 600 plus games fully fit, he will have battled through many of those games injured and hurting. I remember that feeling only too well. But when you care for your club and your team mates as much as he obviously does then those are the things you do.
“It’s an incredible achievement” added Shudra, who scored 329 goals and amassed 792 points during his spells with the club.
“I played on the same side as Hewy when he arrived and played 19 games in the 05/06 season. Little would any of us know that he was going to go on and have such a great career with the club.
“That core of Jason, Mark Thomas and of course Jonathan Phillips have been as important to the Steelers as many of us were back in our time.”