Put the word "injuries" to Nick Paine and he will tell you that "pretty much sums up my career to be honest".
It has taken 15 years but Paine will finally play his 150th game when the Ainslie Tricolours meet the Queanbeyan Tigers at Margaret Donoghoe Oval on Sunday.
It's been a long time coming for the 30-year-old four-time premiership player that made his first grade debut at the ripe old age of 15 in 2003.
He has been at Ainslie every year bar a two-season stint with South Fremantle in the WAFL, which is where the injury problems that have plagued his career began a decade ago.
Paine was supposed to play his milestone match three weeks ago before he strained his hamstring at training two days before the game.
During that same match, Belconnen's Dom Bunyan made his 150th appearance for the Magpies.
"One of the boys said ‘he played in the 2009 premiership for Belco’ and I was like ‘mate, I played six years before that’," Paine laughed.
"I should have played 100 before he started. It’s been a long time, 15 years of first grade footy. I started at Ainslie when I was 9, 21 years at the club. I’ve spent a lot of time there.
"One of the boys played their 100th [the week before], he played his fifth game in my 100th. He has played 95 games and I have played 49. It’s pretty rough. I reckon I would easily be playing my 250th if I wasn’t injured all the time.
"I missed a whole season with a calf, that was not ideal. There will always be some sort of niggle or something, I will play one or two and then miss a game. It’s frustrating. That’s what happens when you get old."
Paine admits his early start in the top grade was "pretty crazy" considering he was just 15 years old when he was thrown to the wolves.
But it was either that or mix it with seasoned veterans in second grade looking to claim a few scalps before they strolled into the sunset.
"My second game was an elimination final, I actually think they put me in the seniors because I was less likely to get hurt in the seniors than I was in the reserves," Paine said.
"I got flattened in my first reserves game and they were like ‘nah, can’t have that. He’s too young to be getting killed by 33-year-old guys’. They were just trying to get me because I was running around full of beans.
"It was good though, I’m glad I started young."
Ainslie enter their round 13 clash locked in equal first with Belconnen, while the Tigers are just one win in arrears. One win behind them are the Eastlake Demons, making this season's finals picture one of the closest Paine can remember.
The Tricolours star has witnessed plenty of change during more than a decade at the top but he has been left to rue a decline in the standard of the first grade competition after a lengthy period of uncertainty.
"It will be really interesting because I think the comp has evened up - probably not in a good way. Everyone has sort of come back a little bit in the level," Paine said.
"It got really good for a few years there around the NEAFL. This is the first time I think no club has any ex-AFL players on the list.
"It’s what happens, we’re a small country comp. You’ve got to adapt to it all. There’s been a lot of changes in all the years since I started. We went all the way up to pretty much semi-professional and then back again."
AFL CANBERRA ROUND 13
Saturday: Belconnen Magpies v Tuggeranong Hawks at The Nest at Kippax Oval, 2pm. Gungahlin Jets v Eastlake Demons at Gungahlin Enclosed Oval, 3.30pm.
Sunday: Queanbeyan Tigers v Ainslie Tricolours at Margaret Donoghoe Oval, 2pm.