IN THE MOMENTS following the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final, Christian Petracca could hardly string a sentence together.

The Melbourne midfielder had just helped his team achieve what many before him had failed to – bring some long-awaited success to the Melbourne faithful.

While his family and partner couldn’t be there to witness it, there was a special someone in the crowd he was excited to celebrate with.

His name was Lucas Peters.

Having developed a remarkable friendship in the last six years, it was only fitting that Lucas and Petracca were able to share this opportunity together.

The 14-year-old from Tasmania, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, first met the Demons’ now premiership player and Norm Smith medallist back in 2015, when he was undergoing treatment in the Royal Children’s Hospital.

Petracca was in his first year at the club and hadn’t even played a game yet, but something about young Lucas struck him.

They have since created some lasting memories together, with the Peters family flying back and forth for games and catch-ups, and Petracca jumping online to play games to stay connected.

But of all that they’ve experienced together, none was more special than Saturday night.

When Melbourne secured its spot in this year’s AFL Grand Final – it was its first in 21 years – Petracca made sure Lucas and his family had a chance to witness it.

He organised some coveted tickets for them, in prime position, which meant they were among the 61,000 people at Optus Stadium to see the Dees win their first premiership in 57 years.

If that wasn’t meaningful enough, Petracca made a beeline for Lucas after receiving his two medals, ensuring they could celebrate the occasion together.

A photo, a hug and a premiership made for the perfect night – one that neither will ever forget.