The honour of representing WA has turned into a nightmare for Tallan Ames, with the Swan Districts captain facing a five-day journey to get home followed by a likely month on the sidelines.
Ames, 30, has been unable to fly back to Perth for medical reasons after suffering a partially collapsed lung and broken ribs in a nasty collision with former Richmond forward Cleve Hughes during last Saturday's 85-point State game victory in Blacktown.
The WA Football Commission has been unable to find a seat for Ames on the fully-booked Indian Pacific service out of Sydney.
It means Ames is resorting to a circuitous route via Melbourne and Adelaide that will involve 62 hours journey time on either a bus or train to reach Perth.
The defender caught a Greyhound coach from Sydney to Melbourne on Tuesday night.
He then hopped on a second bus to Adelaide where a seat will become available on the Indian Pacific tonight to allow him to complete the long rail trip across the Nullarbor.
Ames is not due to arrive at East Perth train station until 9am Saturday - almost an entire week after playing in the comprehensive win over a NEAFL representative side.
He said the injury had caused him extreme pain initially, but painkillers had helped get him through the days since.
"Hughesy threw a couple of decent knees into my back and it was excruciatingly painful," Ames said. "But over the 24-hour stay at hospital the pain subsided pretty well and quite frankly I'm thinking I should really be back in Perth by now."
Ames said he no longer felt indispensable at Swans given the form shown by the team's younger players this season.
"It's a great place to be where every position is almost replaceable," he said. "We've found out this year that without some of our senior and experienced players that have moved on we can get the job done still, which is great."
Scans will reveal how serious the internal damage is for Ames, but Swans are bracing to be without their skipper for up to six weeks.
Travis Casserly (quad) and State under-18 representatives Connor Blakely and Aidan Anderson are also unavailable for Saturday's clash with Perth at Lathlain Park.