There have been plenty of times over the past decade or so that Brodie McLaughlin had reason to believe his dream of making an AFL list wasn't going to happen.
He was not a junior 'star'. In fact, he didn't even get invited to try out for the Oakleigh Chargers under-18 TAC Cup team, and then sat out for a year to concentrate on completing Year 12.
When he returned to playing, it was for Bulleen Templestowe in the VAFA's Division Two - the fifth tier of Victoria's amateur competition.
Seven years later and after a winding journey that has included a raft of injuries and stops at Gaelic football in Ireland, the VAFA's De La Salle club, North Melbourne's VFL team and ultimately Frankston, the 25-year-old has made it.
On Wednesday morning at Gold Coast's Sunshine Coast training camp, McLaughlin was told he had beaten two others to win the final spot on the club's list via the pre-season supplemental selection process.
It was a crowning moment in an incredible tale of persistence and one that sparked infectious excitement and celebration among the new teammates he'd impressed so much over recent weeks.
"It's been a journey full of setbacks and has required a lot of perseverance ... but it's all worth it now," McLaughlin told AFL.com.au.
"I was never sure it was going to end up like this, but I'm bloody happy it has."
McLaughlin, a 193cm forward, has a steely inner resolve that kept him on track to fulfil his dream.
And he's needed it too; he's overcome a broken leg, a nerve problem in his hip and a broken shoulder blade in the past few years to make it this far.
Pick any year in the past decade and there'd be either a selection or injury setback that might have derailed his belief.
But it was a conversation after his first season with Bulleen Templestowe with his number one supporter - his mother - that crystallised things.
"We were having a chat and I said: 'I think I'm good enough to do this'," he recalled.
"I think that was a bit of a line-in-the-sand moment where I was going to push for it. I think projecting your dreams out there, verbalising it, puts it in stone a bit more.
"Since then, I've been pretty resilient and pretty determined to make it happen.
"I just had a deep self-belief (that) I could make it. I wasn't going to leave anything on the park, I was going to give it my all.
"I didn't want to walk away with any regrets."
McLaughlin impressed the SUNS with 24 goals in 12 appearances for Frankston in the VFL last year to force his way onto a list that already includes tall targets Ben King, Mabior Chol, Jack Lukosius, Levi Casboult, Sam Day, Joel Jeffery and Chris Burgess.
It looks to be a tall order for him to force his way into the senior team, but after what McLaughlin has been through just to get this far, you simply can't rule it out.
"There were so many doubts along the journey," he said.
"Every year it seemed like there was another setback. It's been the most ridiculous journey.
"There were heaps of doubts along the way but I'm very proud of myself that I was able to stick with it.
"I think a lot of people would have given up."