Around this time of year, the memories come flooding back for Brent Todd.
Tonight, the former Kiwis prop will be just another punter at a packed Bali bar, watching the NRL grand final with a few hundred expatriates and travellers, with most there unaware of his legacy.
But Christchurch-born Todd, who now co-owns a couple of tattoo studios and a café on the Indonesian island, carved a unique niche in league history.
He was just the fourth New Zealander to appear in a grand final, only the second to win one and the first to snare two premiership medals.
Three decades since his first decider, only three Kiwis have matched his record of four grand final appearances — Steve Matai, Jeremy Smith and Adam Blair — though Jesse Bromwich will join that exclusive club tonight.
"Most people who come here are more into AFL," said Todd. "When they find out I used to play league, they often ask, 'did you play in a grand final?' When you say you played in four, the reaction is normally, 'wow'."
Todd was a trailblazer. He went to Australia at a time when few New Zealanders did, largely because of restrictive transfer rules which meant domestic players weren't granted an overseas release unless they had played six tests or been on two Kiwis tours.
Todd signed for Canberra, then co-coached by Don Furner and Wayne Bennett, ahead of the 1987 season. He was a near ever-present in a memorable debut campaign, as the Raiders made the grand final.
"It was a massive occasion," recalled Todd. "[Prime Minister] Bob Hawke was in the dressing room, it was the last game at the Sydney Cricket Ground and we were up against Manly, one of the glamour sides. I still remember walking out — the feeling was incredible."
The Sea Eagles, led by Paul 'Fatty' Vautin and with Kiwi Darrell Williams at fullback, were hot favourites and ran out deserved 18-8 winners.
"There is such a build-up over the whole week, and you've been striving the whole season. So when the final whistle goes and you've lost, it's the worst feeling ever. You get over it eventually but I can remember sitting there thinking, 'far out, this is awful'."
Two years later, Todd was part of arguably the greatest decider in NRL history, as the Raiders beat the Balmain Tigers 19-14 in extra time. It was the first grand final broadcast live in New Zealand — ONE Network News was delayed as the match concluded — and sparked interest in the Winfeld Cup.
"For some reason, everybody thought Balmain was going to kick our arse. They had all the best players, and the Sydney media were all over them. But we were quietly confident. There were lots of big moments and we were a bit lucky ... but that's grand finals, they're always really intense."
Todd was involved in an early flash point, when his intercepted pass gifted the Tigers a 6-0 lead. Todd, an old-school prop who rarely deviated from Bennett's instructions to 'just cart it forward', was devastated.
"I was standing behind the tryline thinking, 'what the f**k have I done?' You get that sinking feeling. But I remember Mal [Meninga] pulling me aside and saying 'don't worry about that — we're going to win this game, so carry on, it's not a big deal'."
The Raiders retained their title in 1990 against Penrith, making their experience of the big occasion count.
"We were delayed 15 minutes because of the [pre-match] entertainment going over time. A few minutes before we were due to run out, they told us to sit back down. That may have affected Penrith a bit. By the time they ran out, I could see they were that fired up, they'd burnt up a lot of energy. It worked in our favour."
But the Panthers got their revenge the following year.
"It was a close game. When Royce Simmons scored near the end ... they were running back, saying 'yeah, yeah, we've got you guys'."
Todd relocated to Queensland 10 years ago but now spends most of his time in Bali overseeing his business interests.
"I'm semi-retired," laughed Todd. "We come over here with my family a lot for surfing and holidays, and I wanted to have a base here."
Todd spends a lot of time gym training and boxing — "trying to keep healthy, trying to keep young" — and also plays for the Bali Geckos, the local Aussie Rules team.
"It's just to keep fit. They don't have a league team, otherwise I'd play for them."
He won't make the Raiders' annual reunion this year.
"Laurie Daley puts on a cruise every year. Gary Belcher rang me up, but I can't this year, it's too far to come back."
As one of a handful of Kiwis to have played four grand finals, Todd is well placed to reflect on the pressures of the occasion.
"The key is handling the whole week building up — trying to treat it as a normal game, though you know it's not going to be. It will be 10 times faster, the speed, the intensity.
"No matter what, you're going to get really nervous, so it's how you mentally prepare yourself. The main thing is to do your job. Don't try to do anything extra, like try to bloody pass the ball in the first 10 minutes, when you never did all season!
"And make sure you enjoy it. When you win, it's the best feeling in the world, and when you lose, it's the shittiest. Someone is going to be really happy [tonight] and others won't be feeling too good. But it's the most special occasion you can ever have as a league player."