Mark Schure used to enjoy playing for the Collegians footy club, but now this lad from Glen Iris has his eyes peeled for more than a sneaky opposition play while he protects Australians in Afghanistan.
Mark is now an Australian soldier deployed to Afghanistan as a 'guardian angel' to protect other Australian Defence Force personnel mentoring the Afghan military.
"You have to stay 'on the ball'; all the time," he said.
"It's that moment of complacency that things can go wrong.
"You have to make sure you're always ready to deal with anything."
Lance Corporal Schure and his team protect personnel who mentor and advise the Afghan Air Force from their base at Kabul Airport.
Each day is different and Mark can be working on the airfield near aircraft, around the base or in support of meetings.
Mark joined the Army as an infantryman when he was 19 and is currently posted to the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, in Townsville.
"I joined because I wanted a bit of adventure in my life and luckily the Army's given me that now," he said.
Mark arrived in Afghanistan in September after nine months preparing for the mission.
The lengthy work-up found him well prepared for his mission, however his family still had some concerns.
"I think Mum was a little bit worried to start with, thanks to Hollywood and how they portray everything," he said.
"But I've done my best to explain to her that we're always 'on the ball' and we do our best to make sure nothing goes wrong."
Mark is already planning to head home to Glen Iris when he arrives back in Australia around April.
"I'll be back down to see my mates and my Mum," he said.
"The guys were excited for me deploying because they knew it was something we really want to do and has worked hard for."
Mark is deployed to Afghanistan as part of the Australian Defence Force's Operation Highroad.
Operation Highroad is the Australian Defence Force's commitment to Afghanistan to support the NATO-led train, advise and assist mission called Resolute Support which has replaced the previous NATO-led International Security Assistance Force mission.
Around 270 ADF members from the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Air Force and Defence civilians are deployed in Afghanistan as part of Operation Highroad.