It's never a game of two halves for Joe Galuvao these days. He takes it 20-30 minutes at a time.
Manly’s interchange forward trains sparingly and plays accordingly as he nurses his body through the twilight of his NRL career.
Galuvao started out as a fleet-footed fullback at the Auckland Warriors; he won a premiership with fellow "hair bear" Tony Puletua at the Penrith Panthers in 2003 and then refused to follow Russell Crowe's script when the Hollywood superstar famously suggested he quit South Sydney and trade the paddock for pastoral work.
But Crowe wasn't preaching to the converted and Galuvao, a committed Christian, defied the advice and has played in two more grand finals, including last year's triumph over the New Zealand Warriors.
The 34 year-old made his first grade debut against the Sydney Roosters back in 1998 and 15 seasons later he still worthy of inclusion in a premiership-winning pack featuring Anthony Watmough, Tony Williams, Jason King and Brent Kite.
He doesn't have the speed and mobility of yesteryear but Galuvao has still produced an honest quarter or so during his 13 cameo appearances this year.
Busiest against the Roosters in round 11 when he logged 44 minutes, Galuvao clocked half that in last Friday's clash with the Bulldogs but still tackled in double figures.
A chronic Achilles injury means he can no longer stretch out on the field, or during training but the personable four-test Kiwi grins and bears the discomfort.
"I try to keep off the leg as much as I can and work on the bike instead," he said.
"You can't just do nothing so I've made sure I've done everything I can to get myself ready for games - your body is what you earn your money from."
Galuvao was unable to run during Manly's pre-season so he is still getting up to speed with just six games remaining before the finals series.
"Ask any player, if you can get a good pre-season behind you without getting injured it puts you on the front foot for the season. When you're injured you're on the back foot trying to catch up."
Having experienced the highs and lows of professional sport Galuvao confesses 2012 "hasn't been my best year" - but it is still a drastic improvement on the two seasons he spent at Souths.
Crowe urged Galuvao - who was exiled to the Queensland Cup with feeder club Easts at the time -- to retire and become a minister at the end of 2007, but instead he resurrected his career at Parramatta a few months later.
"It was a tough time in my life, they (Souths) questioned my commitment," Galuvao reflected before tomorrow night's round 21 clash with the Warriors in Perth.
"You don't want anyone telling you that you aren't wanted or needed but looking back it makes the good times that much better."
Galuvao already exceeded his expectations when he debuted for his hometown club at the old Sydney Football Stadium.
"I just wanted to play one game of first grade," he said, adding: "If anything my story is one of perseverance, just overcoming and hanging on when you can, when everyone else says you should quit.
"I've learned you've just got to believe in your ability and get around people that believe in your ability."
He has found that working environment on Sydney's northern beaches, though he still lives out west in Penrith, his spiritual home.
"I'm big on the community stuff out there, helping out kids. It'll definitely be a big part of my life after footy," he said.
Of course Galuvao also shares the wisdom gained during 225 games of first grade with the younger generation at Manly.
"I like to think my experience can benefit these young guys coming through. I do my best to help them out, just be a friend and offer a helping hand."
Whether he will fulfil that role in 2013 remains to be seen as Galuvao was non-committal about the prospects of playing out his current contract.
"We'll just have to wait and see what happens. I wish I could play more .... I just go out there and do my best whether it's 20 minutes or five minutes," he said.
Rest assured Galuvao won't rush into a decision about next year, after all you're a long time retired.
- © Fairfax NZ News