It's taken 13 years for Melbourne co-captain Nathan Jones to have the best five weeks of his AFL career.
Against the Western Bulldogs on Saturday, Jones will become the ninth player in Melbourne's history to play 250 VFL/AFL games.
The 30-year-old had his first taste of finals in his debut season in 2006 and since then it's been mostly a hard slog at the under-performing Demons.
But currently sitting third on the AFL ladder and coming off a 91-point thrashing of last year's grand finalists Adelaide, there's finally some deserved success on the horizon again.
Jones said the last time the Demons won five games in a row was two weeks before he debuted.
"It's been a pretty long journey but the last five weeks for me have been the most enjoyable so far," Jones said on Wednesday.
"I haven't had this much fun playing footy since I was a kid."
The nuggety midfielder said he never really considered going elsewhere while the Demons were mired at the bottom of the ladder, despite offers from AFL clubs.
"From a young age my old man said, 'Don't take the easy option' and that drove me to stick around and see it out ... and be a part of creating some change," he said.
"I was embarrassed where the footy club was at not too long ago but I was also really motivated about the challenge ahead.
"I'm excited to have been a part of something from the beginning and I'm proud of what we've built it into.
"It's the joy and connections and foundations with the playing group we've put in place over the last four or five years of how the footy club wants to be seen and how we want to perform as a team and to see some reward for that is very fulfilling."
With the Demons emerging as premiership contenders, Jones isn't thinking of retirement and is hopeful of playing for another five years.
He said talent-wise it was the best group of players he'd been involved with but the results weren't on the board just yet.
"I feel like I've got a heap of footy left and we're really only scratching the surface of what we're capable of. There's a lot of potential here."