The back seat of the bus is within reach for Northland co-captain Dan Pryor.

Set to play his 50th match for Northland tonight, the bustling loose forward admits the milestone has crept up on him, and says he's still got a way to go if he is to become the head sherang.

"I'm getting to the back of the bus now, I think I'm just one seat from the back," Pryor said of the Taniwha pecking order, which currently sees 59-match stalwart Ross "Big Tuck" Wright occupying top spot.

"I remember my first game when I was up the front packing the bags and now I'm down the back delegating. It keeps those younger boys on edge and is just a bit of a joke for the older boys - it's always good to keep them on their toes."


Pryor is looking forward to the "special occasion".

When he first put on the Cambridge blue jersey as an unknown, he had many Northland fans questioning his selection.

But it didn't take long for Pryor to earn their respect as he stormed the field against Taranaki in 2010, making 18 tackles, missing none and being voted "players' player" after his prevalent part in Northland's 26-19 victory at Yarrow Stadium.

"It was on a Thursday I think. I remember it because I was in Auckland and wasn't even in the team. I'd just played my club final four days before and we lost so I'd been on the piss for a couple of days then got the call from Bryce Woodward to start on Thursday.

"I was rushed down to the Naki, didn't know anyone, didn't know any moves - I just remember Bryce Woodward gave me this big playbook and David Holwell came straight in and threw it in the bin and said 'you've just got to tackle and listen to me'."

"That's what I did ... I was only supposed to be there for a couple of weeks and five years later, here we are."

Looking back on his career, linking up for a try during his younger brother Kara's first appearance for Northland versus Wellington last year stands out as another notable match.

"As an older brother you try to watch him and try and mentor him through. To see him and the way he's going now, he's going to surpass me easily."


Asked if he could make 100 appearances for the province, Pryor said he'd just be focusing on getting to 51 after tonight's game.

"A hundred would be unreal, I'll probably be broken down by then and no good to anyone."