Hawthorn have praised Brendan Whitecross' reaction to the serious knee injury that ends his AFL finals campaign.
The Hawks confirmed on Saturday that the forward had ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
He will need a traditional reconstruction, putting him out of action for at least six months.
That means not only does Whitecross miss out on a possible premiership this year, but he will not resume until well into next season.
Whitecross suffered the injury early in Friday night's qualifying-final win over Collingwood, but by the end of the game he was chatting happily with teammates.
Football manager Mark Evans said the player's demeanour, despite knowing he probably had a serious injury, was "just amazing".
"He has always been considered a young leader within our playing group and his team-first attitude and resolve to remain involved in any capacity that might benefit his teammates is a credit to his character," Evans said.
Younger players such as Whitecross were prominent in the win over Collingwood, with late inclusion Shane Savage, Luke Breust and Jack Gunston all playing key roles.
"That's probably one of the pleasing things about this year - all the younger guys have stepped up," said captain Luke Hodge.
"They know they don't have to do anything special, just play their part and we'll be happy with that."
Hodge said the Hawks would use the fortnight off before their preliminary final to focus on RFIs - room for improvement.
"We've hit some good form ... Clarko (coach Alastair Clarkson) is really good in the fact that he's always going to take RFIs out of each game," Hodge said.
"We'll go back, look at a few things we could have done better.
"I know at times they had a lot of centre clearances that resulted in goals, so there are still plenty of parts of our game that we can look out for in the next two weeks."
Another plus from the game was that key forward Lance Franklin came out of an intense and physical duel with Chris Tarrant to kick four goals.
It was a brutal final, with plenty of incidents to keep Monday's match review panel busy.
Tarrant will probably come under scrutiny for an early clash with Franklin, but the Hawks star was not fussed.
"He's a great player and it was a good battle," Franklin said.
"That's just contested footy and once you cross the white line, you're playing against each other."