LAVINGTON speedster Shaun Mannagh put a horror opening eight minutes behind him to be best afield in the Panthers' shock victory over Wangaratta.
After missing set shots from inside 20 metres at the six and eight-minute marks, Mannagh recovered to play one of the great grand finals.
He finished with five goals and 27 possessions playing off a wing, through the centre and at full-forward.
"What a stinker (start)," Mannagh laughed.
"The boys were really good, they helped me get my mind back on it.
"The game wasn't going to rely on one or two kicks."
Mannagh started on a wing opposed to Magpie Nick Richards before finding No.1 tagger Will Reilly as his opponent after quarter-time.
It mattered little as the Richmond VFL player used his explosive pace to turn the opposition inside out time and time again.
Mannagh said the Panthers went into the clash confident despite losing their previous three matches against the hot favourites.
"It's bloody amazing isn't it," he said.
"That's literally what you play footy for especially against Wang as they have been hard to beat all year.
"We set ourselves for this week.
"Obviously there was a bit of stuff happening with Simon (Curtis) but we were confident we could get the job done even if he didn't play.
"How good is that."
After missing two early shots, Mannagh showed his mettle by bombing a goal from outside 50-metres before following up with a miraculous banana from the boundary.
It gave Lavington all the momentum as the Panthers stormed to a matchwinning 41-point lead at the first change.
"We came out and knew we had to be accurate kicking goals and, apart from myself missing two sitters, kicking six goals in the first term really set it up," he said.
"Footy is a game of momentum and they came back at us.
"We held firm in the third and the last quarter was a bit of fun."
Mannagh was embroiled in controversy after being knocked out in the second semi-final and playing the week after in the preliminary final against Myrtleford.
"I probably shouldn't have played but the doctors gave me the tick of approval so that's all that matters," he said.
"For all those people out there that reckon I shouldn't have played go stuff yourself."
Mannagh returned to Lavington this year from rival club North Albury.