HE'S played more than 150 games with five clubs and Dragons veteran Jeremy Latimore is well aware that finals football is a privilege and not a right in the NRL.
Just five of Latimore's 160 NRL appearances have come in the finals arena. He was with the Panthers in 2014 when they upset the Roosters in week one of the finals and fell just short of a fairy tale grand final berth.
He was also with the Panthers when they were pushed out in week two by the Raiders and the Cronulla side that was upset by eventual grand finalists North Queensland in week one of the finals last season.
The 31-year-old has gone without finals action altogether in seven of his 10 seasons in the NRL, leaving him desperate to make the Dragons finals push count.
“I've played finals the last two years and both years I thought we were a really good chance,” Latimore said.
“We made the second week with the Panthers [in 2016] and last year [Cronulla] bowed out to the Cowboys. In 2014 we had a really good team at Penrith, we beat the Roosters first week of the finals and I remember going to the prelim thinking 'how good's this, we're going to make a grand final’.
“We lost to the Bulldogs and then the year after that we were playing [to avoid] the wooden spoon in round 26 against Newcastle. That's something I've tried to tell the boys, these opportunities don't come around a lot.
“I'm getting a bit older and next year could be my last year so I'm all in at the moment, I'm ripping in at training, making some sacrifices off the field and just trying to give my all. Hopefully we get the reward come finals time.”