Fremantle's Matthew Pavlich is confident of playing at an elite standard for another two years, but he says his recent top form does not guarantee extending his career beyond then.
The 30-year-old again looms as the Dockers' greatest trump card as they seek to break into the top eight with victory over Adelaide at AAMI Stadium this afternoon.
The rare run that has Pavlich leading the Coleman Medal has equated to 44 goals in nine matches.
It is the most consistent goal- kicking form of a 13-year career and something some thought was beyond the Fremantle skipper.
The purple patch prompted coach Ross Lyon this week to compare Pavlich to the man known as Superboot - Footscray and Fitzroy legend Bernie Quinlan.
A 366-games forward, Quinlan won a Brownlow Medal at 30.
He went on to play successfully for a further five years, kicking at least 50 goals in each of those seasons.
Pavlich will be 32 when his four-year contract runs out at the end of the 2014 season.
He said there were no guarantees he could extend his career past that point.
"I'm contracted for another couple of years and looking to play at a very high standard until at least then and we'll review my career after that," Pavlich said.
"If the motivation's there mentally and the physical side of things, the body keeps holding up, then I'll keep playing as long as I can.
"But I'll be the first one to say 'look, I'm done'. I'll put my hand up.
"It's nice to hear those things, but that's a long way off."
Pavlich spoke about his season to _The Weekend West _during a visit to North Fremantle Primary School to promote the adidas School Fun Run program.
More than 253,000 children around the country will take part in the initiative, which is expected to raise $2.5 million in vital school funding while encouraging students to be active.
Pavlich's eight goals in last Saturday's western derby equalled the second-best haul of his distinguished career.
He said he was happy for others to debate whether he was in career-best form, but stressed it felt awkward being asked to rate his own season.
"I actually feel uncomfortable speaking about it, to be frank," Pavlich said.
"I'm happy for people (to discuss it). That's why there's so many people out there in the media that get paid to comment on those things.
"I have said before - and I mean this - that goals, kicks, marks, handballs, it's important, but it's not the be all and end all of my performance.
"Being captain, there's a huge amount of other things that come under that.
"My main priority is to make sure that the preparation of myself and the team's absolutely spot on and that we can enter each game knowing that we've given everything."
Pavlich's output has correlated with an improved pre-season.
Challenged to trim down and take his preparation to the next level under Lyon, the veteran shaved 20sec. off his personal best in a 3km time trial.
He also shed 3kg off his 100kg playing weight.
Pavlich said, like any pre-season, there had been a joint discussion with Lyon and fellow Fremantle staff about the areas where the captain could find further gains in his own performance.
He modestly attributed his run over the past two months to the team's improvement.
Fremantle have won their past five matches to be in the finals hunt and Pavlich said there was genuine belief about the squad's capabilities.
"We believe that we've got a really good core group of players and our game plan's rock solid and we're implementing that now a lot better than we did earlier in the year," Pavlich said.
"What that means at the end of this year and the end of next year, who knows?
"I'm the first one to say that we'd love to create some real success here and I'm striving as much as anyone to help the group achieve that."
Fremantle's No.1 ruckman Aaron Sandilands could be the final piece in the puzzle for this year's campaign.
Pavlich said his close friend had completed most of Thursday's training session and could return from turf toe as early as next Saturday's home game against Richmond.
For now, the Crows are the immediate test as Pavlich returns to his South Australian roots.
"It is a big game and they've been terrific all year," Pavlich said.
"They've played a brand of footy that I think most people thought they might not have been capable of.
"But certainly they've just backed it up every step of the way and deserve the opportunity to play for top spot."
Goals, kicks, marks, handballs, it's important, but it's not the be all and end all of my performance. "Matthew Pavlich