FOR SO many reasons, David Swallow means more to Gold Coast than anyone outside the club could possibly understand.

Not only was he the Suns' first ever No.1 draft pick in 2010, but the West Australian went to the fledgling club 12 months earlier as a 17-year-old to play a year in the VFL.

After winning a best and fairest in 2014 – Gold Coast's best season to date – Swallow suffered a career-threatening knee injury that wiped out the best part of two years.

And when many others left the club seeking greener pastures, he stayed.

David Swallow is tackled during Gold Coast's clash against Fremantle in round nine, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

Through injury and upheaval, Swallow has endured.

And on Saturday night against Brisbane, the mild-mannered wrecking ball midfielder will run out for the 193rd time in Suns' colours, and in doing so surpass Jarrod Harbrow for the club's games record.

Somewhat fittingly, it will be at the Gabba, the same ground he debuted at against Carlton in 2011.

"It's a great honour, very humbling," Swallow told AFL.com.au.

"When you start your career you want to play a lot of games, and my journey has been a bit different with a few injuries and a bit's happened at the footy club, it hasn't been all smooth sailing.

"To get to this point is a nice achievement."

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Harbrow, who retired at the end of last season and is now the club's indigenous programs coordinator, vividly remembers meeting Swallow for the first time.

"I don't reckon he's changed at all," Harbrow said.

"The Dave Swallow that walked in as an 18-year-old is the same Dave Swallow now as a nearly 30-year-old.

"He came in perfectly groomed, amazing hair, amazing tan and he was already built and had a mature body at that age, a ready-made AFL footballer.

"You'd definitely want to build your football club around players like Dave Swallow because you know what you're going to get.

"He's ferocious, he's courageous, he's very selfless, he leads by example and he's a real humble, caring guy and a great role model and leader."

Swallow came in with the expectation of being the club's No.1 pick in its inaugural draft, and although he doesn't get the plaudits of others, he's been everything and more the Suns could have asked for.

David Swallow after being taken with the No.1 selection by Gold Coast at the 2010 draft. Picture: AFL Photos

As combative as any midfielder that takes the field, Swallow – alongside Jarrod Witts – led the Suns after former co-captains Tom Lynch and Steven May left at the end of 2018.

Harbrow said Swallow's leadership and perseverance was an example to anyone he came across.

"You can see it in the locker room when you put your boots on and your socks on and you look around the room and see Dave doing the same thing, straight away that gave me confidence because I was going to run out on the footy field with a warrior who would leave everything out there and not let you down," Harbrow said.

"He hits the contest with so much force, he's a bit reckless, a bit kamikaze…some of the contests I've been around, and you hear the sound of the collision, there's nothing quite like it.

"He's a classic style of leading through his actions.

"What I mean by that is on-field he's going to be the best footballer he can be so as a young person watching what Dave does, he gives his all and you can't ask for much more than that as a player."

Gold Coast veteran Jarrod Harbrow. Picture: AFL Photos

To match his ferocity, Swallow also has skill, regularly kicking goals from forward 50 stoppages and proving a reliable set shot when required.

The 29-year-old said he was hopeful of putting the record some way into the distance by the time he finishes his career.

"To go through all the challenges we've had and that I've gone through makes it a bit more special," he said.

"I'd like to think there's a few more chapters to play out.

"The body feels good, so I feel like I can keep adding to that number."