What you see is what you get with St Kilda skipper Jarryn Geary, as long you are looking closely.
On the surface, Geary is probably no different to a lot of his mates back home in Bendigo.
Humble, no fuss, keen to stitch up his friends for a laugh, honest and reliable.
Earlier this season when asked by media about his contract beyond 2020, the Saints skipper seemed genuinely surprised anyone was interested, and quickly joked that there were more important signatures to acquire than his own.
This week, ahead of his 200th game, Geary turned down media requests to avoid any unnecessary personal attention.
It’s this self-effacing attitude that has been the trademark of his career, particularly as captain.
Always willing to front the press and cop the heat after a loss, but equally keen to deflect praise to others in the afterglow of a win.
And it goes well beyond the public eye.
When the Saints lost to Collingwood at the MCG earlier this year, the injured captain – after getting around each player in the rooms – didn’t hesitate to join staff members in helping pack up the club’s banner and scarves that had been placed over the seats at the Punt Road End.
No one was surprised to see him doing so.
For his football coaches, it is playing whatever role will help the team, the guarantee to perform that role admirably, and a complete disregard for his own body with his attack on the ball and opponents.
More on his football accomplishments later.
But for all his humility and selflessness, the Jarryn Geary of locker-room cricket is a different beast entirely.
He takes guard with the cavalier confidence of Brian Lara, and is happy to bat for just as long.
You get a sneak peak of his inner belief ahead of the annual pre-season time trial, where he comfortably won every single race for a 10-year period before running machine Ed Phillips found the mettle to knock him off.
Prior to those gruelling runs is an obvious self-assuredness, a quiet belief in his willingness to sit with the exhausting pain in his lungs for longer than others.
While others look nervous, he is grinning.
Former long-time teammate and housemate Dave Armitage, who was drafted alongside Geary in 2006, said Geary also fancied himself as a food critic.
“He is a food snob,” Armitage said.
“When we were first drafted, we used to hide Maccas in our bags so our housemate Sean Dempster didn’t see us.
“Now, he knows all the good restaurants and cafes and if you’re going to dinner together, he’s telling you where and why, and that’s not up for negotiation.”
Armitage agreed with the get-what-you-see description of his close mate, as long as you saw both versions.
“There is the serious ‘Gears’ when it comes to footy, and holding guys accountable to standards, or the important things in life. But then there is also the guy with endless energy, bouncing off the walls who seemed to have a new plan to stitch up a teammate every week.”
Armitage tells the story of how Geary organised a fake home invasion of a teammate many years ago that saw the police called and a group of Saints having to explain why they were dressed in dark clothes and balaclavas.
Geary has even involved wife Emma in pranks, with the pair sending Jimmy Webster off trying to solve a rabbit infestation at a non-existent neighbour of former coach Alan Richardson.
But this is also the man who was the rock of the Saints through a tumultuous two-year period where the losses mounted, Richardson bid goodbye, and a number of teammates faced serious injuries and mental health battles.
What makes Geary’s leadership even more impressive was the fact he also sustained two career-threatening injuries of his own.
The protruding muscle and enormous scar that stretches the length of his thigh are a reminder of the now well-documented compartment syndrome he faced following a typically selfless act against the Demons in early 2019.
But the second injury was arguably worse, with several surgeries required from the broken leg suffered in China due to an internal infection.
Despite the personal setbacks, his command of the dressing room remained.
If someone needed pulling into line, Geary was the man to do it.
If someone needed an arm around the shoulder, there he was again.
Armitage said he would simply do whatever was in the best interests of his club, that his selflessness was unquestionable.
For young gun Jade Gresham, Geary has clearly been much more than a teammate and captain.
“He was the guy I roomed with at pre-season camp just after I first arrived at the club and he’s looked after me ever since,” he said.
“He lets you know when your standards aren’t up to it, when you haven’t run well enough in the time trial for example.
“He gives you a bit of tough love for a day or two, but then he’s the first to get around you and make you know that he is going to help you get better.
What is often overlooked is Geary’s influence on the field. Who some see as a player with a low possession count, his teammates and coaches see as someone constantly stepping up to take the critical jobs.
The one splitting packs, covering for his fellow defenders and directing traffic.
His record against Eddie Betts is testament of his ability to shut down the opposition’s best small forward, while at 32, he has this year gone forward and claimed the scalps of Jason Johannisen, Jake Lloyd and Sam Docherty.
It’s no surprise the Saints won all three games.
For Brett Ratten, and Richardson before him, who have largely led young and developing Saints teams, Geary was and remains ‘Mr Dependable’, the first magnet put on the whiteboard each week, and the one person you know will do whatever is thrown his way.
Champion former Hawk Jarryd Roughead, who has seen Geary’s influence first-hand as part of his weekly meetings with the leadership group, said he hoped Geary’s work in building the culture would be rewarded.
“For me, it’s a bit like Ritchie Vandenberg at Hawthorn, someone who did so much work to make sure the culture was where it needed to be,” Roughead said.
“I hope Gears is still here when hopefully the club does enjoy success because he has been such a big part of setting up the culture the Saints need going forward.”
While the plaudits flood in ahead of the milestone match, Geary will be quick to deflect attention back to the all-important clash against the Hawks. He knows no other way.
You won’t find the soon-to-be father of two on Instagram.
You won’t hear from him this week in the media.
But his influence on the Saints is deafening.