MICK McKinley, a 200-game veteran and long-term strapper at Hamilton rugby club, has watched players push themselves to the limit for nearly two decades.
Now it's his turn.
McKinley, 300-game Maitland veteran Danny Lewer and fellow Blacks Corey Pasma, Andrew Cockbain, Peter Ryan and Tom White will take on the Kokoda Track next week in the name of charity.
The group, which has been been training since January, hopes to raise $25,000 for RUN DIPG. They are half way towards achieving the target.
Former Universty lock and Newcastle captain Matt Dun's world was rocked in February 2018 when his now four-year-old daughter Joesphine was diagnosed with a brain stem cancer called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).
Dun, who is a cancer researcher, is self-funding a world-first study into the deadliest of all childhood brain cancers, with a survival rate of just 10 months. DIPG kills about 20 children in Australia a year.
"When we discussed which charity we would support, we all agreed there was none more deserving than Matty Dun's research," McKinley said.
"He is going through a world of hurt and we wanted to support someone in the rugby community. What Dunny is doing, not many people know about it. The Uni boys have been raising money and we want to continue on from that and raise as much as we can."
The group begin the eight-day trek next Thursday.
"We are expecting a hell of a week," McKinley said. "I am taking a few rolls of strapping take in case someone rolls an ankle. It is more the mental hurdle, but I'm sure we will get through it. We have a good bunch of blokes who have trained hard and prepared well. I have been going up Heaton Lookout near Freeman's Waterhole. I try and do that three times a week. Last Sunday, three of us walked up to the top and then went into the Watagans through leech-infested bush.
"We not there to win a race. We will do it at our own pace. If I'm the last one into camp each night, then so be it.
"My goal is to finish it and pay tribute to those who didn't come back. We have porters, people who are carrying our tents and making our food. We are not getting shot at. We are just following the footsteps of those who protected our democracy and our future."
McKinley, affectionately known as Big Dog, has lost 12kg preparing for the trek.
"Danny Lewer got in contact with me in the middle of last year and asked if I wanted to get involved," McKinley said. "It has been on the bucket list for me, as it has for the rest of the boys."
To donate: www.rundipg.everydayhero.com