James Tsitas was so desperate to win the final spot on Gold Coast's list he almost missed a flight back to Victoria for his own wedding.
The 26-year-old was sweating out a session at the SUNS' Carrara headquarters one Friday morning late in January when head of personal excellence Brad Reid dragged him off the training track.
Tsitas had lost track of the time and was running late to catch his plane.
"I hadn't seen my wife – well, at the time I wasn't married - but I was flying to go get married and I hadn't seen her in a month, so if I missed the flight and wedding, I don't think she would have been happy," Tsitas joked following his first official session in Suns colours on Tuesday morning.
"We got married and I got straight back on the flight Sunday to train on Monday."
It all worked out well for the Magarey Medallist, who edged Nathan Freeman out for the rookie spot via the Supplemental Selection Period (SSP) rules.
Tsitas returned to the Gold Coast for his final week of battle with Freeman, and after receiving the good news at the weekend, celebrated with a 36-hour honeymoon to the Sunshine Coast.
"I've been with my partner a long time now and she knew how much it meant to me and how much it meant to everyone around me, so she was very accommodating," Tsitas said.
"She knew it was short-term sacrifice. It was a massive opportunity. I might not have got this opportunity every again.
"She was willing to sacrifice and thankfully we had a really good weekend, it was unbelievable the wedding."
The rugged midfielder said there were times he thought the chance to play AFL had passed him by and admitted being locked in a virtual one-on-one with Freeman was difficult.
"I actually really like him as a bloke, but it was hard for us because we were competing for the one spot," he said.
"I think he's a fantastic guy and we actually get along, but it was hard to form a relationship when the stakes were so high.
"I wish him all the best and hope he gets on an AFL list.
"I'm 26 now and there were a lot of times there where I didn't think it was going to happen, so to finally be here is fantastic.
"I'm just so driven to get more out of it, write more chapters in the book."