As the grip of fatigue begins to tighten and compromise most of the people around him at the end of games, Warriors back-rower Jackson Ford seems to somehow get better.
His ball-and-all try-saving tackle on Max King with seven minutes to play in last week's 16-14 win over the Bulldogs was the most recent, and dramatic, example of it, and came as no surprise to coach Andrew Webster who heaped praise on his off-season recruit post-match.
"Literally the fittest guy at the club. Competes on everything," Webster said.
The longer and harder [a game] gets, the better Jacko gets.Andrew Webster
"He's not an impact player, you can't play him like that. You've got to stick him out there like a draught horse and just let him work hard the whole time."
That last point is significant, and it's Webster's belief in it which has helped resurrect an NRL career that prior to 2023 was spluttering.
A wall of Warriors stop the Bulldogs
Of the 33 games Ford managed at the Dragons between 2019-2022, he came off the bench in 20 of them, which the 25-year-old now concedes didn't suit his style of play.
"I had mostly been coming off the bench and playing middle... I can probably do it, but I sort of think it maybe wasn't my role," Ford told NRL.com.
"Now Webby has moved me to the back row, a position I enjoy, and I have been really enjoying my footy and playing more minutes.
"I feel like when the game gets going a bit faster, my fitness comes in and I tend to look for more carries.
When the boys get tired I try and be the one that stands up.Jackson Ford
Warriors centre Brayden Wiliame, who played with Ford at the Dragons in 2020 and 2021 before linking with him again in Auckland, said his talent was always obvious to see, but he wasn't helped by an unsettled coaching setup.
After making his NRL debut under Paul McGregor, Ford was coached briefly by Dean Young in an interim capacity before Anthony Griffin took over in 2021.
"Jackson is one of those players that has all the tools that you need to be a gun player at NRL level, he just wasn't given the chance," Wiliame said.
"When you get new coaches coming in, they all sort of have their idea of what sort of player they want, and I just think at the Dragons that was the only reason he wasn't playing.
"It wasn't for any lack of talent or not working hard at training.
"He will say it himself, getting out of his comfort zone is what he needed. Going off what we have seen so far, what a move It's been for him.
"He has got the world at his feet if he keeps working hard. This is the tip of the iceberg for Jacko."
Ford strolls over
After the opportunity to join the Warriors on a two-year deal came up last year, Ford sold most of his belongings and headed to Auckland determined to make a fresh start.
Last week that included experiencing a rowdy Mt Smart Stadium crowd for the first time, with 18,595 mostly Warriors fans cheering the side to their third victory of the year.
"They were unreal. I love the fans over here, they have been really intense and they love it," Ford said.
"I think it's different [than Sydney] because there's not going to be many opposition fans over here, so pretty much the whole stadium is going for the Warriors and every time you do something good you can feel the crowd roar.
"The home ground advantage here is pretty huge."