AFL: eight games; debuted against Fremantle in round one, 2012.
VFL: Geelong 10 games; North Ballarat 118 senior games: 2008-09-10 premierships; Norm Goss Medallist (best on ground 2009 VFL grand final); VFL representative 2008 and 2010; VFL team of the year 2008-09-10-11.
BFL: Redan 2002-03 premierships
THIS is a stage Orren Stephenson knows well - Victorian Football League grand final day at Docklands.
Etihad Stadium is also where Stephenson played his first AFL game in Victoria for Geelong in round three, against North Melbourne, earlier this year.
Stephenson has relished big battles on this turf and is deep in preparations for another major bout on Sunday.
The 30-year-old will bid for his fourth VFL premiership within five years.
His first three were captured with the North Ballarat Roosters - 2008, 2009 and 2010 - after being recruited to the club in 2005 as a dual premiership ruckman for Redan.
This time, Stephenson will vie for the flag with his new team Geelong.
He will go into this year's grand final a much different player, even though he is two years older than his last.
And he admitted it felt a little different preparing as a Cat this time.
"A little bit, but not overly strange. It feel a bit stranger I think if I'd played against North Ballarat during the season but I was playing AFL both times we met," Stephenson said.
"I'm excited to get back out there (Etihad).
"Shannon Byrnes and David Wojcinski have been playing really well and hopefully we can bring the young guys along, they've been great, especially since mid-year."
Geelong will face reigning premier Port Melbourne, a stand-alone VFL club.
Stephenson will once again duel with Wayde Skipper.
The pair have battled through Skipper's time at Williamstown (as a Western Bulldogs-listed player), Box Hill (when Hawthorn had considered Skipper and Stephenson as rookie prospects, drafting Skipper) and Skipper's past two seasons with the Borough.
Stephenson said Skipper's ruck style was unique and often difficult to counter - but it helped knowing exactly what to expect.
In a whirlwind year, Stephenson felt his own ruck work had improved greatly.
The four-time VFL team of the year ruckman was a shock pick for Geelong in last year's AFL national draft, to bolster the Cats' ruck stocks following the departure of Brad Ottens and Mark Blake.
Stephenson said the difference was in being a full-time footballer with access to one-on-one coaching from ruck coach Dale Amos and Ottens - specific line coaching most VFL clubs did not have the resources to adopt.
"Twelve months ago I wouldn't have thought I'd have a chance at playing AFL," Stephenson said.
"I'm lucky to have pushed on to eight AFL games and finals in the VFL.
"I feel I've improved. My footy's come a long way, especially in the back end of the year.
"The intensity definitely goes up (in AFL) and expectations on you as a player are different and the style is different but I'm really happy with my progress this season."
Fine-tuning preparations will follow routine.
The Cats have drawn Sunday matches the whole VFL finals series.
While training is often dictated by the AFL squad, this finals the VFL team has been able to focus on its own schedule, with a main hit-out on Wednesday afternoon and lighter run on Fridays.
Stephenson said the continuity was important.
The Cats AFL players have offered support and training at game day and, along with a ferocious Geelong crowd, will be out in force for the grand final.
Geelong fell 22 points short of Port Melbourne in this year's qualifying final and enters the title match after fending off a late Werribee resurgence by five points in last week's preliminary final.
Stephenson said there was lots of excitement building in the Geelong camp.
They were ready to meet Port Melbourne again, he said.
It was all about taking one step at a time and that one final step comes on Sunday.