It will be another milestone in two weeks for the Gold Coast SUNS with Ben Ainsworth set to rack up his 100th game in the AFL and with the SUNS.
The forward joined the club in 2016 after being drafted fourth overall in the NAB AFL Draft of that year.
Ainsworth said he was very pleased to have been able to stick around with the club and after a convincing win over the reigning Premiers, knew that success was just around the corner.
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the Gippsland local, having been dropped to the VFL squad in 2021, a move he said inspired him to work hard and get back up to the AFL level.
“I think it was the best thing for me, and in hindsight it made me realise that I just can’t go out there and dawdle around every week, I actually have to go and perform and not just rely on my talent,” Ainsworth said.
After a valiant effort against Aspley Hornets, scoring four goals amongst 24 disposals, five marks and five clearances saw Ainsworth selected for the Round 15 match against North Melbourne Kangaroos, and he hasn’t looked back.
The determination and tenacity he showed gave Ainsworth a reputation for being one of hardest workers in the club.
“Ultimately, I think for us as a footy club over the years have just focussed solely on preseason and getting ourselves to an AFL standard body and fitness capability. It’s something that I took out of that, just being on the park each week and being consistent with my body and also with my footy,” Ainsworth said.
In his first season, Ainsworth was nominated for the NAB AFL Rising Star nomination for Round 22 of the 2017 season, where he kicked three goals and notched up ten disposals.