There's an old saying that good things come to those who wait.
When Jarryn Geary played in his first final for St Kilda in the 2011 elimination final the last thing he thought was that it would take another nine years for the club to return to finals action.
The Saints had played in the grand final in 2009 and 2010, where Geary had somewhat surprisingly missed selection for the entire finals series.
They qualified for the finals again in 2011 and, despite losing to Sydney in the elimination final, the Saints still looked well placed to be September regulars.
However, the shock departure of coach Ross Lyon at the end of the season was the start of a downward spiral at Moorabbin.
Nine years on, Geary is the only player from the 2011 elimination final defeat still playing with the Saints.
That elimination final was his 52nd senior game for the club. The former Eaglehawk and Bendigo Pioneers player has now played 202 matches and is captain of the club.
Friday night's win over Greater Western Sydney cemented the Saints' place in this year's finals series.
Through the difficult times Geary's leadership on and off the field has been vital as the Saints rebuilt their list.
First-year St Kilda assistant coach Jarryd Roughead sees similarities in what the Saints have done to what Hawthorn did during its rebuild from 2002 to 2007.
While the Saints, at this stage, don't have the talent that eventually led the Hawks to four premierships between 2008 and 2015, Roughead said they are on the right track and that Geary has played a major role in the improvement.
"For me, it's a bit like Ritchie Vandenberg at Hawthorn, someone who did so much work to make sure the culture was where it needed to be," Roughead told saints.com.au
"I hope Gears is still here when hopefully the club does enjoy success because he has been such a big part of setting up the culture the Saints need going forward."
In two weeks time Geary will lead the Saints into battle in an elimination final against Collingwood or the Western Bulldogs.
The Saints will probably go into the final as underdogs, but that will matter little to Geary.
After a nine-year wait he'll do everything in his power to ensure the Saints finals campaign lasts longer than one week.
Read more: Geary celebrates 200-game milestone
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.