Nick McCrohan would probably be watching Saturday's grand final from the sidelines if not for the persuasiveness of Pirates coach Mat Kelly.
The 22-year old was planning to take this season off but was coaxed back into pulling the boots on again midway through the season.
"Matty's got the gift of the gab," McCrohan joked.
It started out with a few "niggles here and there".
"Eventually it came down to 'can you come and fill in some numbers for us we're starting to lose a few men," he said.
His first game was against Inverell in the penultimate game of the first round.
"That was just to blow the cobwebs out a bit, which was only meant to be a little stint in second grade and turned into 20 minutes in first grade," McCrohan said.
"From there on it just kind of worked it's away up."
Not that he is complaining. He's glad he relented to Kelly's pleas.
"It's been the best choice. I've enjoyed it at lot," he said, adding that it is a very special team to be a part of.
Pirates are glad he did too.
McCrohan cut a busted and spent figure after Saturday's preliminary final - the result of 80 minutes of putting his body on the line.
It's been the best choice. I've enjoyed it at lotNick McCrohan
Kelly thought he was the best player on the field "by far" as they moved within a win of a second history-equaling fourth straight premiership.
"We made it a lot harder than we probably should have," McCrohan said.
"But I think we enjoy putting ourselves under a bit more pressure a bit too much - we've got used to it."
Part of the previous three successes McCrohan has been their "Mr versatile". He has played just about everywhere in the pack - front row, second row, back row.
Since his return he has mostly been packing down up front but found himself running out with six on his back in the preliminary final win against Narrabri.
While he has filled in there before, it was his first start, and on his performance possibly not his last.
"I love the deep end - you either sink or swim," McCrohan said.
A junior Country rep at number eight, that is his favoured position but he is "happy to play footy anywhere" and as he readily acknowledged "when you've got Conrad Starr there good luck to you".
The Pirates skipper is widely regarded as the best number eight in the competition.
McCrohan had initially been named to play at tighthead on Saturday after the one-match suspensions of props Bart Leach and Andrew Collins that occurred when they both received a third yellow yard against Narrabri.
But Leach and Collins had their one-match suspensions quashed during a judiciary hearing on Friday.
It will be the second decider McCrohan has played in at Walcha.
Back in 2012 he was part of Pirates' side that won the under-16s title.