He finally finished playing two years ago and appropriately Tom Court's final moments on a pitch were for Brisbane's University of Queensland, where his journey in the game had begun over a decade before.
Not that the now 39-year-old former Ulster prop mentions it for reasons of sentiment. Anything but.
"In my first season and my last season, the university made it to the Premiership grand final, but for me it ended nil from two for titles. In saying that, I didn't have much luck in finals for Ulster either," chuckles Court, who now works as a research impact co-ordinator at the university, where he also does some rugby coaching.
In between times it was quite the voyage for Court, who only took the game up at 24. Less than two years later, he had given up a secure job and relocated as a largely unknown quantity to Ulster.
It took him a while to get going, but he ended up playing 154 times for the province, fully justifying the punt Ulster had taken on a raw but Irish-qualified prop back in 2006. He also bagged 32 caps for Ireland and was part of the 2009 Grand Slam squad.
Then there was his shock call-up, while back home on holiday, to play a game for the British and Irish Lions on their 2013 tour of Australia, before finishing his pro career in 2017 at London Irish.
Also throw in that he successfully switched positions, starting as a tight-head and converting to loose-head prop - at a time when the 80-minute front-row player wasn't uncommon - and largely benched for Ireland when having to cover both sides of the scrum, though the potentially alarming pitfalls of this were hurled his way at Twickenham in 2012.
And all this from a Queensland native whose main sport had been shot-putting before he essentially wandered into rugby.
"Playing that game for the Lions pretty much summed up my whole rugby career really, in that there has been plenty of achievement but also lots of luck," says Court, who lives in Brisbane with wife Cath, daughter Maddie (11) and son Theo (nine). "But it wasn't just luck as I worked extremely hard for a very long time to get to where I was. It was only then that things seemed to work out."
And how he had to graft.
Court arrived in Belfast in 2006 but didn't really make any waves - apart from playing for Ireland 'A' pretty much on arrival - until two years later due to an injury crisis at Ulster.
"Up to that point, it had been pretty horrendous really. I hadn't been playing for long, so it was always going to be a big step up, but that first season and a half I didn't play much at all," he says.
Court had to put in quite a bit of emotional groundwork to seize his chance.
"I pretty much went in and begged to play," he recalls of cornering the then coach Matt Williams. "I got in and then, well, pretty much started for the next six and a half years."
His timing was impeccable as, by 2008, Court's contract was up and an extension had hardly looked likely before he had successfully pleaded for his chance. "I remember I broke down in tears when I got that contract extension because I'd thought everything I had done in coming over was to be in vain," he says.
Court then switched to loose-head and became one of the mainstays of a powerful Ulster side which consistently made knockout rugby from 2011 up until he departed in 2014.
"You can't really manufacture a team feeling," he says of that time, which, of course, didn't bring the desired trophy. "It can only happen organically and the right people came in at the right time and it clicked. It was one of those times when it was actually fun and didn't seem like hard work at all, even though a hell of a lot of work was put in."
Beating Munster at Thomond Park in 2012's European quarter-final is his stand-out moment.
"That's the game of my career," he says. "Not necessarily on a personal level, but from a team performance it was the best I was ever involved in. That game was probably the pinnacle regarding how you would also feel in a game with a great team around you."
It was particularly poignant for Court as the match was less than a month after the Ireland scrum's evisceration at Twickenham, when he was sprung from the bench and thrown into tight-head for the injured Mike Ross.
"Mind you, the European Final (of 2012 against Leinster and also at Twickenham) was one to forget though. Bloody Leinster," he jokes of serially losing to them when it came to crunch encounters. "We had a team of very talented players but couldn't quite get over the line."
He was part of an exodus in 2014, departing with several other big names as the side began to break up.
"It was a bit of mental catharsis really," Court explains of taking his leave when he did, though the three-year deal at London Irish and putting the mentally bruising involvement at international level behind him were the clinchers.
"To that extent it worked its purpose for a guy who got stressed about international rugby and probably over-thought stuff."
Though playing for Ireland had always been an ambition, it wasn't long after he got there that a growing feeling of insecurity and self-doubt began.
"I felt that no matter what I did I was always playing to stay in the team and the coaches were always looking me out," he says.
"That may not have been the case, and probably wasn't, but that's how I always felt. Because of that I was always highly stressed. For a guy who spent most of his international career on the bench, you just felt that you would always be the first guy to go.
"It was probably my inherent sense of insecurity, but I was never really convinced I was good enough to be there."
The Twickenham scrum horror show of 2012 - it is often forgotten that their set-piece was in deep trouble before Court arrived - exposed him to malign media criticism that, in turn, probably fanned the savagery on social media.
Court still struggled mentally and his insomnia worsened. Playing for Ireland again in 2013 and the Lions call-up, as well as the constant support of his family, helped him.
"I wouldn't wish it on anyone trying to do it the way I did it," he says of his former career. "But I loved being at Ulster and it's a different feeling now looking back at everything else and seeing how fortunate I was to be a part of it all."