A season-ending knee injury last year put Jack Ram's hopes of playing his blazer game on hold, at least until tonight.
The softly-spoken openside flanker will play his 15th game for the Taniwha tonight when he strides on to Toll Stadium against Hawke's Bay at the later start time of 8.05pm, reaching a milestone that has been three years in the making.
Ram, 26, is into his third season with Northland, something he did not think he would achieve when he moved to Kerikeri.
"It's special to me," he said yesterday of his blazer game milestone.
"Last year [I thought] I would get my blazer, that was what was on my mind but I did my knee.
"But Northland gave me another opportunity to play with them again and now here we are."
Although often seen as one of the grafters who does not see much of the limelight, Ram is the team's second highest tackle-maker, making 31 tackles in three games, in 189 minutes and missing just three.
Born in Australia but brought up in Tonga, Ram played for the Tongan national sevens team prior to pulling on a Taniwha jersey - something he has no regrets about doing.
He said Northland was home for him and his wife, adding the community felt like his family.
And Toll Stadium is the perfect location for the blazer game.
"Hopefully, friends and family will be there, but Northland will be there so that's my family.
"It's pretty big because it's our home ground, and we have to protect our home, I like to play here."
While the 15-game mark says something for a player's contribution to the team, and region, Ram hopes to be able put in a few more seasons with Northland.