Whatever becomes of Ben Stratton's emerging AFL career, Hawthorn will always thank him for saving their 2012 season.
His lunging tackle on Crows star Patrick Dangerfield in the frantic last few minutes of Saturday night's preliminary final proved a critical two-goal play.
Soon after he stopped Dangerfield having a clear shot at goal and jolted the ball free, Hawks star Lance Franklin goalled at the other end to give them a 10-point lead.
Hawthorn won the match by only five points, putting them into Saturday's grand final against Sydney.
"Thankfully it (the ball) went to his toes, it didn't hit him on the chest," Stratton said of the pass to Dangerfield in Adelaide's attack.
"I thought `I have to corral him here, I can't let him get goal-side', because he's a pretty explosive player.
"I got a couple of hands to him, it was good - he was a good player for them in the second half.
"He's a pretty quick player, but he slipped at a critical time and I managed to get two hands on him."
Stratton said it was a great feeling a few seconds later when he saw Franklin kick the goal at the other end to give them breathing space.
"You don't get to celebrate like the forwards when they kick a goal," he said.
"But it's pleasing to know your hard work pays off."
Stratton had a solid match, having also shut down Crows forward Jared Petrenko.
After a knee injury put him out for most of last season, Stratton has played every game this year for a career total of 51.
And now he is in his first AFL grand final.
"It hasn't sunk in yet, I didn't get too much sleep (on Saturday) night, thinking about the game we'd just played and the game this Saturday as well," he said.
Stratton was still playing for East Perth and a year away from being drafted when Hawthorn won their last grand final in 2008.
Then a West Coast fan, he was at a pub celebrating a friend's birthday as he watched Hawthorn upset Geelong for the premiership.
"I was probably barracking for Hawthorn on the day, just because they were underdogs," he said.
"I remember Chance Bateman's dreadlocks and him running around.
"Stewie Dew's (third) quarter as well - they're probably the two things that stand out."