4,378 days will have passed since Brandon Ellis made his AFL debut on the MCG by the time he runs out on to Mars Stadium on Sunday afternoon for his 250th game

Damien Hardwick will have been the coach in both of the games.

Ellis will become just the 280th player in the history of VFL/AFL football to reach the illustrious milestone, and while he’ll have plenty of close friends and families making the trip to Ballarat, he remains team oriented as ever.

“It helps that the game’s in Victoria, being from down there. A lot of people are going to make the trip up the highway which is nice, but we’ve got a job to do first,” Ellis said.

“To be honest I’m more excited for Jed Walter playing his first game. It’s pretty cool that I get to share my 250th with his first.”

It’s been a long journey from his 2012 debut for the versatile winger who was taken by the Tigers with Pick 15 in the 2011 AFL Draft. He would go on to play in two premierships at Richmond.

Twelve years on from his first game and at a club that was only in its second AFL season at the time, the familiar faces present for both game #1 and game #250 don’t stop at the Head Coach’s door.

SUNS Assistant coaches Shaun Grigg and Brad Miller both lined up alongside Ellis in that match, as did Leadership Consultant Alex Rance.

After being guided by some of those names in the early days of his career, Ellis is now taking the opportunity to help pave the way for the next wave of young talent coming through.

“It’s funny how the universe works like that sometimes,” Ellis added.

“The likes of Trent Cotchin, Chris Newman, Alex Rance, Jack Riewoldt… they all looked after me when I got to Richmond and now I sort of get the chance to look after the young boys here.”

Now in his fifth season on the Gold Coast, the 30-year-old hinted that his heart is set on finishing an esteemed career in the Sunshine State, whenever that may be.

“I love this footy club. They took a risk on me five years ago to bring me up here and I thank them a lot for that,” Ellis continued.

“It’s been a great journey up here… you can see the growth in that time. We’re really in that window now to give finals a real nudge.

“He (Hardwick) coached my first game, he’ll coach my 250th and he’ll coach my last, whenever that is.”

Speaking on Friday morning, Hardwick says it’s a proud moment to see the footballer and person the young kid from West Coburg has become.

“To see the footballer he’s become, but then more importantly the man he’s become too. Him and his partner Sarah have been together for a long time as well and to see where he’s at with his life now, it’s an incredibly proud moment,” Hardwick said.

“His story is a great one, some of the adversity he’s faced, negotiating free agency to come up here and now we’re joined at the hip again. 

“He’s been an incredible servant for me for a long time and for the Gold Coast SUNS as well.

“Hopefully we can back that up with a win this weekend because he’s a really important player to the fabric of our club.”