As Brisbane charge headlong towards a first AFL finals campaign in a decade, Luke Hodge can only beam with pride at how the club has developed.
Lured out of retirement by coach Chris Fagan after the 2017 season, four-time premiership winner Hodge is steeling his 35-year-old legs for another crack at September football.
Hodge, who is managing his ageing body across this season, returns to the Lions' line-up for Saturday's clash with North Melbourne at the Gabba as Brisbane aim to further shore up a top four spot.
For someone who thought his playing days were done, Hodge says he's truly thankful to have had a chance to help the Lions rise.
"At the start when I got here I was impressed by how mature the young guys were. I think that's just continued," Hodge said.
"If you look at the blokes I've been lucky enough to play with down back - Harris (Andrews), Darcy Gardiner - who have really taken control of the backline with Richy, then you've got your Alex Witherdens and them guys who are coming along as well.
"No doubt I've forgotten a few who'll be filthy at me but I've been lucky that I'm able to be a little part of the journey with the guys and it's only the beginning of what this group could accomplish in the future."
Hodge has also hinted his playing days may extend into 2020, saying he feels "surprisingly good" at the back end of a season where he's played 14 games to take his career tally to 338.
"It was always a two-year deal and it hasn't been spoken any further on that," Hodge said.
"I'll be in Brisbane next year without a shadow of a doubt ... we're absolutely loving it up here.
"I'll still be part of the Lions next year. In what way? Who knows?"
Australian Associated Press