MELBOURNE hero Christian Salem said blocking out the crowd and pretending he was at training was key to kicking the Demons' match-winning goal on Sunday against Essendon at the MCG.
The 18-year-old marked with 55 seconds left on the clock with the Demons trailing by five points.
In just his seventh AFL game, he was tasked with putting his team into a strong position to win just its fourth match for the season after Daniel Cross spotted him 30m out, directly in front.
He walked back, calmed his nerves – which were still running hot after coming on as the substitute in the third quarter – and thought about Gosch's Paddock.
"I looked up at the clock and there was about 28 minutes gone so I thought I would just take my time and try and put it through, just think of it like I was at training," Salem told AFL.com.au in the moments after the game.
"As soon as I turned around and looked up at the goals, I took a deep breath and took my time and just tried to work through it.
"It was just about staying calm. You do it 100 times at training and the less you think about and you focus on your routine, the better off you'll be.
"It was definitely the best moment in my footy career."
Coach Paul Roos said afterwards he was "pretty confident" the No.9 NAB AFL Draft selection from last year had the composure and ability to nail the goal.
Still, given Salem correctly sapped time lining up and would leave less than 20 seconds on the clock after his kick, Roos deployed the runner and went into contingency mode.
"He's come out of the under 18s system, he's got a really good reputation as a nice kick for goal and he seemed really settled," Roos said.
"You looked at him and he seemed pretty confident.
"He's got a really compact kicking style, not a lot of moving parts, so even though I was confident I was still setting up the zone, telling the runner to go out and set up the zone.
"You have got to have a bit each way in case he misses but I was actually pretty happy it was in his hands surprisingly, for a six-game player.
"And the great thing is we will now get free food at the family café for the rest of the week, so that's fantastic."
Cross only had a second to decide whether to have a shot himself from just inside 50m but after landing a kick short up the other end in the first quarter, picked his younger teammate as the better option.
"I thought he was going to kick it. I looked up and I saw him looking at the goals, and then I turned back again and the ball was coming my way," Salem said.
"I thought I better turn around here.
"I spoke to him after the game and he said he wouldn't have made the distance but I highly doubt that."
Salem said it was hard to watch the Demons' first half that was rife with errors and allowed the Bombers to more than double the number of times they attacked inside 50.
But he said he simply tried to focus on what he could do when he got the nod to shed the green vest.
"I went for Essendon growing up so it was a bit weird coming on as a sub," he said.
"Sitting on the bench for the first three quarters to see the game unfold, we weren't playing our best footy at all and Essendon kept us in it by missing [goals].
"I thought when I had my chance I would come on and play my role and try and make an impact and I thought to the boys' credit we all chipped away and we got them in the end."