Former Walla footballer Sam Rowe looked set to be stranded on 99 AFL matches after finishing up at Carlton last season.
But some strong form with St Kilda's feeder club Sandringham has earned him a spot in the Saints' final match of the season against Sydney at the SCG on Saturday.
He spoke to The Border Mail's BRETT KOHLHAGEN this week about his journey to the milestone.
BK: You wererookie listed by Sydney in 2006 and will play your 100th AFL match on Saturday. It's been a long, winding road hasn't it?
SR: It sure has. There has been a bit happen I guess. Back then I wanted to play one game and then you get a taste and want more and more. I've really enjoyed it.
BK: Is there a big difference between playing 99 and 100 games?
SR: At the moment, it doesn't mean too much more but I think when I'm finished and reflect it will be nice to say I've played 100. I'll be proud I've somehow got there.
BK: Would you have been disappointed if you didn't get a senior game this year after accepting St Kilda's invitation during the pre-season supplemental selection period in March?
SR: Disappointed maybe but I still would have been happy with my decision to come back. I knew what I was in for. There were never any guarantees. I love footy and it's been a great job to be involved in. It's nice to know I can finish on a high.
BK: Have you enjoyed the year?
SR: I have. Obviously when you are on an AFL list you want to play AFL but I was more than happy to play a senior role at Sandringham. I've played almost every position there is in the VFL and I've enjoyed trying to help the young guys. That was part of my motivation in coming back after finishing up at Carlton.
BK: Have you had a lot to do with Doulton Langlands?
SR: I really like 'Doults'. I remember we played a VFL game in Geelong and he did some things that really made me take notice of him. I think he's got a good future. He's got a good attitude and I hope he does well.
BK: I noticed you had 59 hit-outs for Sandingham last weekend. Have you done that before?
SR: Never in my life I wouldn't have thought. I was pleased to be able to put in a good game coming into this weekend.
BK: How has Brett Ratten been going as caretaker coach since he stepped into Alan Richardson's role?
SR: The current playing group have loved the change. I guess players who have been there for six or seven years have only known 'Richo' as a coach who they liked as well. I think when you get a change though you can compare and take things from each as it's something different and I know they love Brett Ratten's coaching style. I hope he gets the permanent job as I think he would do a good job. He's in the box seat.
BK: You go back a fair way with Ratten don't you?
SR: I do. He was coaching at Carlton in my first year with the Blues in 2012. I got crook (cancer) that year and didn't play and 'Rats' got sacked at the end of the year. It's funny how it has worked out now. Even though I didn't play under him at Carlton, I've always liked him and thought we had a pretty good connection.
BK: What's the biggest difference between Carlton and St Kilda?
SR: Playing wise, the clubs are fairly similar. Both are pretty young sides and building. Team wise there isn't a lot of difference. You feel the power of Carlton a bit more because it's a bigger club but in saying that St Kilda has a great feeling to it. I've enjoyed my time at both clubs.
BK: What happens for you after this weekend?
SR: I'm starting a new job in mid-September for a luxury home builder who I met through Carlton. He builds some awesome homes in Melbourne and I'll be in a supervisor-project managing role. My wife is due with our first baby in eight weeks as well so it's all happening.
BK: Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
SR: John Barker had a big influence. He was never my senior coach but you tend to work pretty closely with line coaches. We've spent a lot of time together.
BK: You have confronted some huge challenges along the way with health and injuries. That must have been tough?
SR: Definitely. There have been personal things and injury and AFL is a challenging job in itself. I've enjoyed the good and the bad. I've just tried to embrace those challenges along the way.
BK: You certainly had a few on Friday night football playing deep in defence for Carlton?
SR: They were the games I looked forward to the most. I usually played my best footy against the best forwards. I always set myself for the biggest challenges. Buddy Franklin has always been a great challenge, Tom Hawkins is another one who I had good battles with and Tom Lynch got hold of me a few times which always frustrated me.
BK: Who has been your toughest opponent?
SR: Tom Lynch kicked seven on me once which annoys me still. Hawkins is incredibly strong and smart and Buddy is powerful and quick which doesn't suit me too well. They all have their strengths.
Tom Lynch kicked seven on me once which annoys me stillSam Rowe
BK: Tell us about playing under Mick Malthouse at Carlton?
SR: I enjoyed Mick. He's certainly coped it in the last few years. He was good for me personally. He would challenge hard. If he had an opinion on something he would let you know. I enjoyed the direct feedback. I felt it was easier to play that way because he was so clear on what he liked and didn't like. He was good for my career.
BK: Did Mick give you any big sprays?
SR: He absolutely did. He delisted me a few times during games I think only to play me the next week. There were a few funny ones along the way.
BK: You played with some good players. Any favourites?
SR: Chris Judd was obviously good. I loved how Andrew Carrazzo went about it and Ed Curnow really worked hard. He's come off a rookie list and put everything into it.
BK: Well played