When Josh Ponting’s name was called out to accept the Alastair Lynch Medal, one man jumped out of his seat quicker than anyone else.
Brad Cox-Goodyer gave out a firm embrace that was accompanied with a big grin and a couple of pats on the chest before Ponting made his way straight to the stage.
That summed up the bond between the Bombers pair.
Returning winner passing on the symbolic baton.
“When he got up to hug me, it was all a big thrill,” Ponting said of his teammate.
“He was as happy for me as I was for him last year.”
By Ponting’s own admission, he owes a lot to the North Launceston captain.
For one carrying a famous surname of his uncle Ricky, a touch of humility as well.
The once good footballer is set to be remembered as a state great over the medal, joining Daniel Roozendaal and Cox-Goodyer as the third club winner in five seasons.
“I didn’t lob up to the night expecting much to be really honest,” Ponting said.
“It was probably a bit of a surprise to me more than others, as you could probably tell by my speech: I didn’t really have one on the night.”
But what he did have was Cox-Goodyer’s back all year.
The two were brothers in arms, on and off the field.
They were schoolmates back at Brooks High and that friendship has continued to the point that Cox-Goodyer will be best man at Ponting’s wedding in November.
“I have spent a lot more time in the gym with Brad this year,” Ponting said.
“That certainly helped me out with my strength and that stuff around the contest.
“That’s where it all started.
“He has kept me accountable. It’s been really good that I have leant on him and he has leant on me.”
The high of Ponting’s win was in stark contrast to that of Jay Lockhart the next day.
The two-time premiership Bomber was fighting it out to the end for another.
Lockhart put in a credible show in the VFL grand final, but his Casey Demons fell in a heap in the last term to lose to Box Hill Hawks by 10 points. He goaled straight after half-time for a 22-point lead – the biggest since the first four goals of the match.
The 22-year-old finished with 10 kicks, five handballs, taking four marks and laying on three tackles in the defeat.