AN EERIE, near-empty airport baggage collection point probably wasn't where Max Gawn expected to hold the AFL premiership cup in Melbourne for the first time, but it will just spur on the Demons to repeat the feat on home soil.
Gawn, coach Simon Goodwin and Norm Smith medallist Christian Petracca were among the premiership Demons to make a quiet return to locked-down Melbourne from Perth on Thursday.
"I did think about it on the flight back that it would've been pretty special to do this all in Melbourne," Gawn told reporters.
"You can sit there and go 'oh what a shame we didn't get to do it in Melbourne, let's just do it in 2022'.
"I must admit, I haven't had great, in-depth serious conversations about it - I want to win the flag every year.
"We'll go away, we'll have our break, I think we've got a shorter break because we've gone the deepest, and I'm sure Goody will have a message on that whiteboard saying '2022'."
Gawn admitted he would have liked to have seen family, friends and the Victorian-based Demons faithful in the crowd on Grand Final day and was keen to make up for it when circumstances allowed, now the cup was "home".
"When you're doing that lap with the cup, I would have loved to have run into someone who'd supported the club for 50 years on the sidelines or David Neitz sitting there, or my wife, at some point during that lap of honour," he said.
"But everything else was pure bliss. It really was a moment to savour.
"... I think that's (winning in front of home fans at the MCG) what we'll touch on when we bring the message to the playing group about what we want to get out of 2022.
"I feel like that's a given that that'll be mentioned at some point.
"What I'm thinking about now is making sure that everyone can get a chance of either seeing the cup or getting to somewhere at some place, maybe later in the year, that they can celebrate with us."
The Demons partied their way through Saturday night, Sunday and earlier this week amid greater freedoms in Perth, but Gawn said the early hours of celebrations meant the most.
"We had an hour or two in the changerooms with the whole travelling party, the whole 75 that went to Perth and that was pretty special," he said.
"I could have easily just caught the red-eye home and come home post that - everything after that was just a bonus."
Most importantly for Gawn, he's now home with time to spare before wife Jessica gives birth to the couple's first child in the coming weeks.
"I've been telling everyone that it's been two weeks for six weeks - there could be a kid there now, when I get home. I'm hoping not - I'm hoping I've just got back in time," he joked.
"I think I've still got a couple of weeks. My greatest memory of my life is about to be trumped."