Canberra's Anthony Petrie will play in his first NBL grand final.
He's played at more clubs than Slim Dusty, watched three of them fold and battled his way back from serious injury.
But former Canberra Gunner Anthony Petrie is confident his "NBL curse" will finally be quashed as the Adelaide 36er prepares for his first NBL grand final series against Perth this week.
Although the 30-year-old is close to achieving the crowning moment of his career, he credits the Gunners team ethos – playing for nothing but the love of the game – for getting him there.
Petrie remembers playing Canberra division one ball with Perth's Jesse Wagstaff many years ago.
Come Monday night at "The Jungle" in Perth, the pair will be fierce rivals as they square-off for a championship.
"Even though no one was getting paid a dime at the Gunners, everyone knew how important it was to pull on that singlet,'' he said.
"That's where I learnt how important it was to play as a team, with the ethos they had.
"I still look up the SEABL website and see how they're going, that program was a big catalyst for me.''
Despite a serious Achilles injury in 2010, and former employees Gold Coast Blaze, West Sydney Razorbacks and Brisbane Bullets going bust, Petrie never lost faith he could climb the NBL summit.
The 36ers are outsiders against a rampant Perth outfit before the three-game decider, but Petrie is convinced they can pull off an upset.
"We had a couple of really good teams on the Gold Coast but with our group and how versatile it is, it's definitely my best chance to win one,'' he said.
"Not many people are giving us much of a chance outside our supporters, but we're not really worried about that.
"We know Perth respects us as a team, and we're the same with them.
"Jesse and I played for Belconnen Ramblers when he was a young fella.
"Canberra's not a big place, but there's clear pathways and the kids can look at what we did.''
The NBL is keen to revive the Canberra Cannons and Petrie, who watched the team while at university, said the city ''needs'' a team.
"It's such a positive thing for the NBL to be talking about expansion,'' Petrie said.
"They definitely need a team, Canberra can be passed off as a public-service town, but I'd love to see a clear pathway for the kids there.
"It's big enough to sustain a team, it's vital for Canberra to have another sporting team, and there's enough key basketball people there to get behind it.''