Tyson Neander has revealed how a change in mindset helped fire him to a share of Brock-Burrum's best-and-fairest.
The 26-year-old tied with Matt Seiter for the Saints' top honour after admitting he lacked motivation at the start of the season following the birth of his son Hudson.
But it was a conversation with Seiter which stoked the fire inside Neander and got him playing his best footy again.
Neander and Seiter finished ahead of Ronnie Boulton, Darcy I'Anson and Jeremy Luff in the vote count.
"It was a bit of a struggle at the start," Neander said.
"Hudson was born in February and I wasn't really motivated to even play footy to be honest.
"My mind was occupied with other things and I was hardly training, compared to how much time I would usually put in.
"I spent as much time as I could with the little fella and never really gave it my all at the start of the year.
"But 'Goof' spent a lot of time with me, reassuring me that the time would come and that I'd find the passion for it again. He's been there, as a relatively new dad, his kids are only young, so it was good speaking to him about it.
"He's just a big cuddly teddy bear when you need him.
"He's a very vocal person and anyone from anywhere can rely on him and lean on him when need be. He was really good for me."
It's a third consecutive club best-and-fairest for assistant coach Seiter but he was eager to sing Neander's praises.
"Tyson has a massive amount of talent and we saw much more of it this year," Seiter said.
"He's probably realising now what it means to be a good football player. To get that balance and a bit more maturity will foster his talent.
"I was in the same position as him a few years ago, when I had my first, that footy became nearly a chore.
"But footy's not a chore, it's your release.
"When you start looking at the fun side of it, that it's not a chore, especially when you've got other priorities in your life, when you look at it differently, you play differently. It energises you.
"Footy is a great outlet from all the other stresses in your life.
"As beautiful as having kids is, it's a stressful time. Footy can give you some head space from day-to-day life and that's essential. Tyson got the best out of himself as the season went on."
Neander joined Brock-Burrum as a forward from Rutherglen ahead of the 2019 season but found himself playing a different role this year.
"Brock's just an awesome, welcoming club," he said. "It feels like I've been there for years so the transition was easy.
"In my first year, I played solely forward, kept doing what I was doing at Rutherglen whereas this year I stepped up in the middle.
"I've always wanted to play in the middle because I played there as a kid but I never got myself fit enough.
"But this year, Nico (Sedgwick) went into town with Lavington so I said 'stuff it, he's not here, I'll jump in the middle instead' and I was surprised how well it worked.
ALSO IN SPORT
"It's definitely a different ball game in terms of fitness but once I found my feet, with 'Goof', Darcy and Ronnie around me, it was good."
This season also represented a different sort of challenge for Seiter.
"The older I get, the fitter I've got to get," he said.
"Instead of just relying what I'm good at, I worked on what I'm not good at and that paid dividends at the start of the season."
Peter Cook is now coaching the Saints, having replaced Kade Stevens.
"Stevo was more than just a coach, he's a good mate as well," Neander said.
"It's a shame we didn't get to finish off the year and send him out the way we wanted.
"I've known 'Cookie' for years and I'm looking forward to playing under him.
"A new voice at the club should be good for everyone."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: