South Warrnambool export Hugh McCluggage is certain to be the focus of his family on Saturday after playing "second fiddle" to his brother last weekend.
The 25-year-old Brisbane Lions vice-captain, who grew up on a farm at Allansford, will take to the MCG in Saturday's AFL grand final when his side chases its first premiership in 20 years.
The scheduling of last weekend's Hampden league grand final meant McCluggage's parents were forced to make a choice between watching him play in the preliminary final against Carlton or youngest son Myles representing the Roosters.
Like the Roosters, Myles won out, not that it bothered McCluggage at all.
"It was a pretty crazy Saturday for the family," he told The Standard.
"Mum and Dad actually stayed down in Warrnambool and watched Myles win the flag so I was having a bit of a laugh with them, it's not everyday you win an AFL prelim and you're playing second fiddle in the family.
"I was extremely happy that it was that way and Mylesy was able to get a win with South and a lot of his good mates. I got to catch a quarter of that on the live coverage and then headed to the game."
The Lions survived an early scare against the Blues, claiming a 16-point triumph, giving McCluggage his first chance at playing on the AFL's biggest stage.
A week on, the entire McCluggage clan will be present to support the Lions midfielder against Collingwood.
"I think Mylesy's had his fun," he said with a laugh.
"But at the same time it's a team effort to get to a grand final and there's so many people that ride the emotions, your family included and all your friends.
"It's as much reward for them as it is for me as well."
As much as McCluggage has achieved in his time in the AFL - 154 games, 95 goals and selection in the All-Australian squad four times - he knows he couldn't have done it without support.
He hasn't forgotten his roots in the south-west and is grateful to everyone involved in his journey.
"I keep in touch with a lot of people back at South Warrnambool," he said.
"There was a fair few of my teammates and also Dad's mates that were involved in the grand final. I know pretty much all of them, so to see them get over the line was amazing.
"I owe a lot to South Warrnambool and also Allansford footy club where I played up until under 14s. I met a lot of good people and had a lot of good coaches through my time at both of those clubs.
"They're also like the family and friends part of the journey and they've helped shape myself as a footballer and myself as a person and I definitely wouldn't be at this point if it wasn't for them."
The 2016 number-three draft pick has experienced the highs and lows of AFL football across seven years, although most of his time at the Lions has coincided with their resurgence.
The club finished with the wooden spoon in his debut season (2017) under first-year coach Chris Fagan before an improved 2018 saw them rise to 15th.
In 2019, the side emerged as a premiership contender jumping all the way to second place on the ladder at season's end.
The Lions have finished top-five in the four seasons since, owing to the development of their young talent, mixed with some shrewd recruiting.
High-profile players such as two-time Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale and former Essendon star forward Joe Daniher have thrived at the club since requesting trades in 2018 and 2020.
McCluggage explained how the Lions had created an environment that attracted new players and helped retain current ones.
"The world culture gets thrown around so often but it truly is that," he said.
"We did have some good people when I first got here and even before that there's good people in every organisation but I just think now we've got the right leadership above us as well as players and that filters down into the playing group and we've got a really strong leadership group in the playing group.
"A mix of old guys and young guys that have either been here through thick and thin or have just jumped on in the last few years. It's just a great place to be to be honest. There's no cliques, everyone's close, everyone's mates and I think that shows in your footy."
Before this season, the Lions had finished top-four three of the past four years without progressing to a grand final.
The side lost two preliminary finals with question marks lingering over its ability to perform in big games.
McCluggage said he had "never lost faith" the side could reach the showpiece event despite the near-misses.
"I think that shows in the fact that we kept fronting up every year and pushing towards this moment," he said.
"I mean, you're always wondering whether you're ever going to get a chance to play in a grand final and then also whether you're going to get the chance to win one because they're so hard to do. Just to make it past the prelim is extremely tough. Those games are super hard to win and then obviously I haven't played in a grand final but to win a premiership not many people get to do that.
"I think we were really driven as a team to give ourselves an opportunity to play for that and while we had a lot of heart-breakers and setbacks we definitely learnt a lot from those experiences as well and I think that showed in our ability to fight back against Carlton after what was probably a poor first quarter."
Whatever happens, win or lose, playing in a grand final is something McCluggage won't take for granted.
"I can't wait," he said.
"(I'm) just looking forward to the whole build up. Everyone that I've spoken to that's been a part of it says it's something that you need to really savour and enjoy, so I'm just trying to stay in the moment.
"I think once we fly down to Melbourne and experience the parade and whatnot, it'll be pretty exciting."
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