JORDAN Lewis felt like hiding himself from the world 12 months ago.
Hawthorn, red-hot favourite to win the 2012 AFL grand final, had fallen at the last hurdle, inaccurate kicking and an up-and-about Sydney side its undoing.
The boy from Warrnambool had already won a premiership medal, in 2008. That was no solace. Defeat on the biggest stage of the season hurt like never before.
Lewis, now 27, had 20 disposals that day and was among the Hawks’ most consistent contributors. But his efforts could not overshadow the collective failure.
But as the sun fell below the Ponsford stand on Saturday afternoon, the heartbreak of 2012 was simply another reason to celebrate the glory of 2013.
Lewis and his Hawthorn teammates, including Colac pair Luke Hodge and Jonathan Simpkin, are this week back at the top of the AFL tree.
The dogged, and at times ugly, defeat of an admirable Fremantle, 11.11 (77) to 8.14 (62), delivered the Hawks their 11th flag in their 89-year VFL-AFL history.
“It’s hard to describe,” Lewis said of the empty feeling that followed last year’s loss.
“You feel like digging a hole and crawling in it. Today just washes it all away. I feel good.”
Lewis, now accustomed to performing in front of huge crowds, was super against Fremantle. He wasn’t overly damaging, just prolific, calm and effective.
He had 25 disposals, second-highest for the Hawks behind Grant Birchall (26) and third overall behind Fremantle pair Nathan Fyfe and David Mundy (28 each).
Most importantly, his bulk and nous at the stoppages helped the Hawks get out of trouble on countless occasions.
They won the clearances 42-34, despite coming up against towering Dockers ruckman Aaron Sandilands and big-bodied onballers Fyfe, Mundy and Michael Barlow.
“We did try and limit their influence around the ground,” Lewis said of the Dockers’ midfield.
“We tried to get someone in their hit zone for the majority of the day, but I think we won our fair share. We got some good ball out of there.”
Lewis is one of nine Hawks who played in both the 2008 and 2013 premierships.
He was so sick after the ’08 decider that he spent two weeks in bed as teammates soaked up their stunning upset of powerhouse Geelong.
The triumph came too early for much of the playing group to comprehend what it had achieved. Lewis himself was only into his fourth season.
After five years of chasing another flag, and having come agonisingly close last season, redemption was sweet.
Defeat would have condemned the Hawks to forever carrying the burden of unfulfilment.
Instead, they will rightly enter the history books as one of the best teams of the early part of this century.
“It’s hard to say what they’ll write,” Lewis said.
“We had adversity last year. To come back, it shows a little bit of resilience from the group.
“To lose against Geelong so many times and to win last week, I don’t know what history will say.
“But two premierships in (six) years — hopefully we’ve got many more to come.”