Greater Western Sydney milestone man Ryan Griffen has come a long way from being a "chubby country kid" who refused to travel to the AFL draft.
He will celebrate his 250th game when GWS host Gold Coast at Spotless Stadium on Saturday, the latest achievement in the softly-spoken South Australian's unheralded career.
The former Western Bulldogs captain joined GWS in 2014, having fallen out of love with the sport and considered retirement before Giants coach Leon Cameron intervened.
But the first juncture came at age 14, long before any of Griffen's four preliminary-final losses.
The midfielder was happily playing local football with mates at the Goolwa Magpies when his dad suggested getting serious and joining South Adelaide.
He refused then reluctantly agreed the next year.
"I remember getting in the car (after training for the first time) and telling dad 'I'm not going back' but I just kept going back, got fitter and fitter," Griffen said.
He made junior state squads then the under-18 All Australian team in 2004 but remained a unique mix of talent and indifference.
"There were all these jokes about how laid back I was before games. I used to joke, laugh, carry on a bit and not take things too seriously," he said.
"I was a careless, sort of chubby country kid.
"I wasn't really obsessed with footy. I loved playing but never watched.
"I remember they wanted me to go to Melbourne for the draft. I was too shy."
Griffen dug his heels in when pressed by mum and dad, instead watching on TV as the Bulldogs used pick No.3 to recruit him.
"I remember sitting at the airport and I was quite emotional; excited but scared," the 31-year-old said.
Griffen found his feet - off the field and on it - with the help of Cameron, a Bulldogs assistant coach at the time.
Some 202 games later, Cameron's counsel proved wise again.
"I can't speak highly enough of Leon, what he's done for my career and done for me as a person," Griffen said.
Injuries and a preliminary-final loss to the Bulldogs, who went on to win the 2016 flag, have marred his GWS stint. Richmond life member Brett Deledio knows the feeling.
"We've fed off each other," Griffen said.
"It is tough but you make decisions. I don't regret my decision."
He wound back the clock against Adelaide last Sunday, with Cameron likening him to the "Griffen I knew from finals footy at the Bulldogs".
"At the start of the year when he had his ankle injury, we didn't think he would play again probably ... it's a wonderful effort to reach 250."