SCOTT Pendlebury and Steele Sidebottom are now two-time premiership players, their careers – while not yet over – bookmarked by flags.
Pendlebury was in his fifth year and Sidebottom in his second when they were part of Collingwood's 2010 flag triumph; the latter was the youngest player in that Magpies side at just 19 years old.
MATCH REPORT Magpies outlast Lions in thrilling Grand Final
The two champions have been mainstays of Collingwood – both on and off the field – since their debuts, first as the young guns who burst onto the scene, then graduating to the best players in the side, and now ushering in the next generation of talent.
But their respective performances in Saturday's gritty four-point premiership triumph showed class is permanent, the two rising high amid the suffocating pressure from Brisbane, the crowd and the Melbourne heat.
10 THINGS WE LEARNED Magpies are clutch kings, party time for Bobby
"Those two, 'Sidey', 'Pendles', they may be old, but s**t, they can still play some of the best football of their career," Brayden Maynard told afl.com.au.
"It's taken them 13 years to get it again. Serious credit to them, they are seriously some of the best leaders I've played with, on and off the field. It's a credit to them, their families – the whole club rallied round each other but those two in particular, 13 years on, to be two-time premiership medallists, they deserve it.
"They're the two who have stuck by through the hard times and the good. I don't know where they sit in terms of how many games they've played together compared to other duos, but they're definitely up there and they still have a long way to go."
PLAYER RATINGS Every Magpies player rated
The duo has played 286 games together, second of combinations who took to the field in 2023, behind now-retired Richmond pair Trent Cotchin and Jack Riewoldt. They are eighth overall.
Sidebottom had 20 disposals on the wing, kicking a stunning goal from 55m to put the Pies 10 points clear late in the fourth term.
"Mine from 80, wasn't it? I just hit it sweet, and here we are. We talk about playing the minutes. Rarely do we blow sides out of the water, and a lot of the time it comes down to the last minutes. We train it, we're good in those positions and I think it showed it again," Sidebottom said.
"I had the footy, Nick Daicos was running by, and I thought I should give it to him. Then I thought, why not, hey? There was probably a bit of wind going down that way.
PRECISION AND POWER The moment that won the Pies the flag
"How do you reckon it felt? Unbelievable. Usually, my kicks go from left to right, and [the wind] just brought it back nicely. Felt nice, reckon I'll remember that one for a while.
"I actually took the mark on the wing, and got the 50. I didn't cramp, but I thought I'd pretend to in order to waste a bit of time. We were obviously in front, so I just took my time and just tried to eat a few seconds off the clock. When I got there, I realised there was a bit of wind, so I thought I'd have a crack at it and it came off."
In terms of what this second flag means for his career, the 32-year-old isn't done yet, but is in a much better position to savour victory, having spent 2014-2017 in the 11th-13th rungs of the ladder.
"Bloody oath. I was obviously very young at the time when I won the first one, and this one is going to mean a hell of a lot more to me," Sidebottom said.
NORM SMITH MEDAL All the votes as Bobby wins it
"I've experienced the lows on this day, and the last few times hasn't gone the right way, but today it did and it was extra special."
Alongside Pendlebury, Sidebottom has set the standard for teammates, and their sheer consistency, game-in, game-out, across 15 seasons (18 in the case of Pendlebury).
They had worked together as captain and vice-captain for seven seasons, laying the framework for current leadership pair Darcy Moore and Maynard, along with Jeremy Howe and the injured Taylor Adams.
As a younger player who hasn't known a Collingwood without the pair, Isaac Quaynor is thankful for what he has learnt from them about football and the world beyond the four walls of the club.
ALL THE STATS Full Grand Final match coverage and numbers
"They epitomise professionalism in their own ways. The way they were able to have such a good balance between football and family is something I really admire," Quaynor told afl.com.au.
"Their work ethic – they're fossils, but they work just as hard as everyone else. That's something I really, really respect about those two lads."