THERE was some initial nervousness about moving Cody Weightman into Mitch and Emily Wallis' family home at the end of 2019.
Emily was pregnant with baby Charlotte at the time and the Wallis family wasn't sure about how the Western Bulldogs draftee would handle it.
Eight months on, Weightman was one of the first to visit Charlotte after she was born and the 19-year-old thinks he could be a "smokey" choice as her godfather.
"He's (Weightman) definitely going to play a big role in her (Charlotte's) life," Mitch Wallis told AFL.com.au.
"He treats Emily really well. Emily and I haven't had the godparent chat but he'll definitely come into consideration."
Wallis and Weightman are both optimistic people by nature and the two immediately got along, with the ex-Dandenong Stingrays forward keen to absorb everything he could from his mentor when he moved in.
"He's so genuine, Cody, he's full of excitement and really bubbly," Wallis said.
"I feel like an older brother and a best mate as well.
"He asked a thousand questions about how AFL footy was."
Weightman has been a dedicated trainer for a long time and the quirks that have already made him a fan favourite crept into his preparation at the Wallis household.
He meditates regularly and completes his stretching at "obscene times" really early in the morning and late at night, but it was the nutritional nuances that chef Wallis provided that shone through.
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"I taught him a few things in the kitchen, but it was more around timing and size of meals," Wallis said.
"My wife and I always go to the market and get fresh produce so it was more around ways to cook, portion sizes and when to eat carb meals."
It was fitting that Wallis was the one to present Weightman his jumper ahead of his debut game, and a moment that the 27-year-old will never forget.
"It's definitely going to be one I'll remember post my footy career," Wallis said.
"I got the call from 'Bevo' (Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge) the night before and I was really chuffed, I was so excited to tell my wife who's had a lot to do with Cody.
"It was a really nice 48 hours of footy that I can compartmentalise in my head that I can re-capture and re-trace every now and then."
The two starred in Weightman's first game against Essendon, with two goals for the protege and three for his mentor.
The on-the-field teachings about discipline Wallis passed on were in effect straight away.
Weightman already had the instinct and the talent, but it was the running patterns on turnovers, efficient tackling techniques and manning the mark the right way that Wallis handed down.
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"The best thing about Cody is his footy IQ is really high, even his goal sense and the one he kicked on the weekend – you can't teach those things," Wallis said.
Weightman's first career disposal will go down as one of the most thrilling passages in recent memory and Wallis had a front-row seat to the contested mark and incredible finish from the forward pocket.
"I can remember it vividly," Wallis said.
"Bont (Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli) was available for a short kick on a better angle, but he (Weightman) put up his hand to say 'Nah skip, I've got this' – it was a bit of a bold move early.
"I wasn't sure what type of kick he was going to do, he was setting up and it was too far out for his left foot.
"I was just above the goalsquare and as soon as he hit it I knew it was going to sail through because he hit it so sweetly and then I sprinted over to him."
Wallis has taken huge steps as a mentor, but his personal game has transitioned a lot over the past three years.
In 2018 he began his evolution from a full-time midfielder into a hybrid and kicked 20 goals and three behinds, but he still averaged three-and-a-half clearances per game.
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Those midfield days are behind him, 95 per cent of his minutes in 2020 have come in a deep forward role.
Wallis has spent plenty of time in the film room breaking down all the reads he needs to become consistent in a role that by nature can be feast or famine.
"I spend a lot of time with (Bulldogs forwards coach) Ash Hansen looking at behind the goals vision and working on decision-making," Wallis said.
"The quicker you can make a decision off the back of what's happening up the play, the better position you get in.
"My strength in the body in the one on ones, the more often I can in those situations from making those early decisions, the more opportunities I get to use those strengths and turn it into scores."
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Weightman has now moved out from the Wallis household, but he's always welcome around for a feed once or twice a week.
Conversations about how the master and his protege combined for five goals in their first match together are sure to dominate dinner discussions for years to come.