ANGUS Brayshaw's spur-of-the-moment decision to offer 'Razor' Ray Chamberlain a low five – one the umpire took up – was a simple act of "gratitude", the Demon says.
The in-form Melbourne midfielder's stray kick coming off half-back late in the third term could have easily resulted in a deliberate out-of-bounds free kick against him.
Instead, Chamberlain blew his whistle and motioned for a boundary throw-in, much to Brayshaw's delight – and his lighthearted, open-hand gesture was in response to that.
"It's funny. People might not believe it, but I didn't intentionally kick it out of bounds," Brayshaw told AFL.com.au.
"I fully expected to have a free kick paid against me, so it was a nice little surprise when 'Razor' looked after me, so I thought, 'You know what? Why not give a little high five and show him my gratitude?'.
"Normally they're pretty hot on it, so what's wrong with a little bit of player-umpire love going both ways? Hopefully they don't fine me for intentional conduct, but it was a bit of fun."
The coaches in the Western Bulldogs' box were immediately aghast at the interaction, but Brayshaw said it was a "nice little moment" and "won't forget it soon".
The Demon is in a buoyant mood these days, playing career-best football in a fifth-placed team after a fourth concussion in 12 months last year briefly threatened his livelihood.
Brayshaw was again one of Melbourne's most influential players in Saturday's 50-point win over the Bulldogs, amassing 38 disposals (16 contested), six clearances, five inside 50s and four tackles.
It was his fifth 30-plus-possession performance this season after starting it in the VFL and having never managing that feat before 2018, as he begins to live up to his billing as the No.3 draft pick in 2014.
DEMON'S ADMISSION: I wasn't the best teammate
For Brayshaw, it's about paying back the people who had faith him.
"I've always believed I could be this sort of player – and I think Melbourne did, too. They wouldn't have picked me at three if they didn't think I could be," he said.
"This is where the people who've worked with me the whole way through, and probably myself, saw the end destination and we're on the way now.
"It's hard not to have your confidence shaken through injuries and whatever, so to finally get to this point – I'm by no means the whole way there, I feel like I've still got a lot of improvement to do – is a step in the right direction."
Brayshaw described Melbourne's 12-minute, seven-goal blitz that ripped the game away from the Dogs in the third quarter as the "most surreal" experience of his AFL career to date.
Almost everything ruckman Max Gawn wanted to happen at centre bounces played out, according to Brayshaw.
The Gawn-Brayshaw ruck-rover combination is not only the Demons' most common in the past fortnight, but also ranks No.1 in the AFL.
"We try and get in and talk about what we want to do before every bounce," he said.
"It might happen once every couple, but it was weird; everything just sort of aligned and I feel like everyone watching would have seen that it all came together for us.
"But that's the way we train. We train to communicate and work really well together and I feel like it's a culmination of all that hard work."
Securing out-of-contract Brayshaw's signature remains a top priority for the Demons, but they need not be concerned about losing the budding star.
"How could you leave this team?" he said with a wide grin.
"I keep talking about it, but the last two years I haven't played a lot of footy and the 10 minutes after a game is the golden 10 minutes I missed the most.
"I love all my teammates and I love the place, so hopefully (my new contract) gets sorted sooner rather than later."