AS THE TIDE began to turn halfway through the third term of Melbourne's astonishing 74-point premiership triumph, NAB AFL Rising Star Luke Jackson was right in the thick of it.
Coach Simon Goodwin flipped the magnets around, giving skipper Max Gawn a chance to rest forward and throwing the still relatively raw Jackson into the action.
Jack Viney crashed and bashed, and Clayton Oliver and Norm Smith medallist Christian Petracca steamrolled their way out of the middle, but it was 19-year-old Jackson giving them first use of the footy.
"I remember going in there to have a little stint and let 'Maxy' rest forward, and we were able to get a few clearances, which was nice," Jackson told AFL.com.au in the chaotic Demons rooms after the game.
"All credit to the midfield getting it into the forward line, who were able to finish it off from there."
Jackson has had a stunning season in a difficult role for a young player, with most forward/rucks not hitting their stride until their mid-20s.
Against the Bulldogs, the 199cm big man finished with 16 hitouts, 13 disposals and an impressive five tackles.
His influence was telling, with nine score involvements, the equal-third highest on the ground, despite only kicking the one goal himself.
The personable Gawn has been a guiding figure for Jackson in his two years at the club.
"I've thought about [my season] quite a bit. To be able to play more ruck this year and be able to help Maxy out has definitely helped my game. Hopefully we'll keep doing it as the seasons go on. I've just loved my time this year," Jackson said.
"He's unreal, he's pretty much like a dad to me off the field. I couldn't ask for much more from Maxy, and obviously a great player to learn off as well."
Jackson's mother Melissa joked on the post-match coverage that she wouldn't have to get her son anything for his birthday on Wednesday, but the Dee was just thrilled to be playing back on home soil.
"I don't really know what I feel, to be honest, just soaking it all in. No words," he said.
"My family came here and all my mates as well, so it's just unreal to be able to see them and celebrate with them in Perth."