Tyme Dow Nikau has become such an integral part of the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs family that it easy to forget he came to Newcastle footy via the Maitland Pickers.
Dow Nikau moved to Kurri Kurri in 2016 after two seasons with the Pickers and plays his 50th first grade game for the club in Saturday's crucial Coalfields clash against Maitland at the Maitland Sportsground.
"There's probably a bit of irony in him lining up against Maitland for his 50th game for us," teammate Brock Gilmour said.
"He started with the Pickers but there's no doubting he is a committed and much loved Bulldog now.
"It's a big game for him, as a club milestone games are very significant and I know Tyme is looking forward to it."
The Bulldogs prepare for Saturday's clash knowing that it holds real significance for both teams in establishing a platform going into the finals.
Kurri and Maitland both have five wins from 11 games equal on 10 points with fellow Coalfields team Cessnock who have a game in hand to play.
Their spots in the top five are also very much under pressure from a resurgent Lakes United who beat the Pickers two weeks ago, steamrolling them in the second half and defeated the Bulldogs 32-10 on Saturday.
"Lakes had more desire to be honest. We missed the jump and couldn't catch up," Gilmour said of Saturday's loss.
"We didn't take it lightly, but it felt like from the kick off that everyone had left their energy and attitude at the door at home.
"We haven't put together an 80 minute performance yet. We played Central and were up 20-4 and then clocked off and just scraped in."
The Bulldogs will be without forward pair Reid Alchin and Jared Anderson for the Pickers clash with both serving suspensions.
"Were struggling with discipline, behind on the penalty count in almost every game and the recent suspensions haven't helped our cause," Gilmour said.
But Gilmour believes the Bulldogs' major problem has been maintaining any semblance of consistency.
"You've got Wests and Souths and then a pretty big gap," he said. "Everyone in the group of six that follows has been really inconsistent."
"We're playing well below what we see as the standard we've set but we're still in the hunt for third position.
"We win one week, lose the next, it is frustrating in terms of consistency but fortunately all the other teams are in the same boat."
Gilmour said the Bulldogs had a mixed record at the Maitland Sportsground.
"We probably had our best and worst performances of the year there last year," he said.