He made his Richmond senior debut in 2002, the year after the Tigers were beaten in the preliminary final by eventual premiers Brisbane.
But rather than being the start of a run of sustained success, Richmond slipped into another decade in the wilderness.
So much so that the reliable defender is the current holder of the unwanted record of most VFL/AFL games without a single playoff match.
Thankfully for Newman, he is set to shed that tag in Sunday's elimination final against Carlton - his 233rd AFL game.
There was one last hiccup, with Newman missing the Tigers' past three games with an ankle injury.
But he's fit and ready to return for a clash between the traditional rivals which is expected to draw a crowd of more than 90,000 to the MCG.
"It's a good feeling to be part of the season at this time of the year," the 31-year-old Newman said on Monday.
"It's an unfamiliar feeling; it's different to what I thought I'd feel.
"I thought I'd have a huge sense of relief but it's certainly not like that - it feels like unfinished business and I can't wait to sink my teeth into what will be a great game on Sunday."
Newman captained the Tigers from 2009-12 before handing the reins to tyro Trent Cotchin this year.
"I never thought it wouldn't happen," Newman said of the prospect of ending his career without experiencing any finals action.
"We've had some pretty bleak years over my time, there's no doubt about that, but I was supremely confident that it would only be a matter of time."
The Richmond selectors face a tough job this week deciding which players to omit to accommodate the return of Newman, spearhead Jack Riewoldt and Shane Edwards, who has served a one-match suspension.
Most games by a VFL/AFL player without playing any finals
232 - Chris Newman (Richmond) 2002-13 - sequence set to end on Sunday
230 - Trevor Barker (St Kilda) - 1975-89
224 - Geoff Cunningham (St Kilda) 1977-89
219 - Gary Hardeman (Melbourne) 1967-81
203 - Steven Smith (Melbourne) 1974-85
200 - Ted Pool (Hawthorn) 1926-38
Most games by a VFL/AFL player before playing their first final
269 - Robert Flower (Melbourne) 1973-87
242 - John Murphy (Fitzroy, South Melbourne, North Melbourne) 1967-80
237 - Stan Alves (Melbourne, North Melbourne) 1965-79
232 - Greg Wells (Melbourne, Carlton) 1969-82
232 - Chris Newman (Richmond) 2002-13
220 - Rod Carter (Fitzroy, Sydney) 1974-90
217 - Bob Skilton (South Melbourne) 1956-71