When Matt Thornton walked into the Sandhurst Football Netball Club in 2007, few people envisaged the impact the fresh-faced teenager from Numurkah would have on the club.
Premiership player, BFNL inter-league representative, Victoria Country representative and arguably the most versatile key position player in the competition for the best part of a decade.
On Saturday, Thornton will play his 200th senior game for Sandhurst when the Dragons host arch-rival Golden Square at the QEO.
"Bear", as he is affectionately known by his team-mates, will become just the 18th player in Sandhurst's proud history to reach the milestone as a one-club player.
"He's the type of bloke everyone loves and no-one has a bad word to say about him," Thornton's team-mate Nick Stagg said.
"Bear just goes about his business with no fuss."
No fuss is exactly how Thornton likes things.
If the humble big man had his way there'd be no fanfare for his milestone game.
"I haven't really thought about the honour of playing 200 games. I don't tend to think about those things much,'' Thornton said.
"The most important thing is trying to win against Golden Square."
Thornton's club-first mentality is what endears him to his team-mates.
Stagg and Lee Coghlan have played alongside Thornton for the majority of his 200 games.
Stagg said in an era where a strong marking centre half-forward can basically write his own cheque, Thornton has repeatedly knocked back lucrative deals from other clubs to stay with the Dragons.
"Bear and I are close and I know the length of offers he's been offered over the years,'' Stagg said.
"The best thing about him is that he's knocked them all back with no fuss.
"He just tells the clubs that he's playing for Sandhurst and that's the end of it.
"He's well and truly played for unders at Sandhurst. He could have earned triple the money he's on at Sandhurst.
"That speaks volumes about Bear and his loyalty to the Sandhurst Football Club."
Coghlan echoed Stagg's thoughts.
"Bear is the most loyal player I've played with at Sandhurst,'' Coghlan said.
"It reflects his character. He's a down-to-earth guy who is happy doing what he's doing and he'll do anything for the footy club."
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Thornton's loyalty has helped Sandhurst maintain a core group of players that has led the club to nine-straight finals appearances, including the 2016 premiership.
"In 2008 we probably only had two players over the age of 25,'' Thornton said.
"From there a group of young players came through together. A few players have left over time, but we've managed to keep a good group together.
"The premiership has been the highlight so far. I'd love to win another one."
The number one question at Sandhurst in Thornton's career - centre half-forward or centre half-back?
He's played outstanding footy at both ends of the ground.
"I don't care where I play,'' Thornton said.
"I probably preferred playing forward earlier in my career, but now I don't mind playing down back.
"As long as I'm on the ground that's the main thing."
While Thornton was more than happy to play down his ability to play at both ends of the ground, Coghlan said his team-mate was undoubtedly one of the most valuable players in the BFNL.
"To be our key focal point for 10 years is pretty remarkable,'' Coghlan said.
"To be so consistent all the way through is very impressive in this day and age.
"He's been thrown around so much from centre half-forward to centre half-back.
"When he's forward he's so hard to stop and when's he's down back he's like a brick wall and opposing teams can't get past him.
"There's very few people in country footy, or even when you watch the AFL, that are used as a swingman like him and that can play both roles so well."
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