SPARE a thought for Nathan Jones.
The former Melbourne skipper, for so long the red-and-blue heartbeat of the struggling club, is now faced with the most difficult of choices.
His wife Jerri is heavily pregnant with twins in Melbourne, and while Jones did not play in the astonishing preliminary final triumph over Geelong in Perth, he remains on the cusp of selection for what would be a fairytale Grand Final.
Post-match, coach Simon Goodwin reiterated the decision of whether to go home – and due to quarantine regulations, be unable to return to Perth – remains in the hands of the Joneses.
"That's a decision that's going to be left with Nathan. Obviously, he's really close to selection, it's a really tough situation. He's so proud of his footy club right now, he's given so much and he's in a really tough situation," Goodwin said.
"Jerri's due with twins and could come at any stage, so we'll continue to liaise with Nathan and Jerri as to what that looks like, but he's close to selection, he's pushing his case and he wants to be a part of it."
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Goodwin was full of praise for inspirational skipper Max Gawn, but not necessarily for the career-high bag of five goals, four of which came in a game-breaking third term.
"I think he typified tonight why he's the skipper of the footy team. He played his heart out, it wasn't just his impact on the scoreboard, I thought his ruck work was strong," Goodwin said.
"The thing that stood out to me was the chase-down tackle on Gary Rohan in the third quarter. I think that's the way we want to be seen as a footy club, the team that never gives up and continues to play the right way for as long in the game as possible.
"Max demonstrated that, as did all our leaders. He was incredible, he impacted the game in a lot of ways. He's a big character and a big figure in our footy club."
Melbourne's defence of Steven May - who was subbed out with hamstring tightness - as well as Jake Lever, Harrison Petty and the rebound of Christian Salem has drawn plenty of plaudits this year, but Goodwin was happy with another facet of his side's game in the 83-point win, kicking 19.11 along the way.
"I think it reaffirms a lot of belief about the way we play. We base our game a lot around our contest and our ability to defend, but I think you saw tonight there's a potency in the way we attack, and we can hit the scoreboard," he said.
"I think tonight we built belief again, we handled the moment well and the moment was really about being ourselves and making sure people saw who we were, being true to ourselves. We were that tonight. We've still got work to do, there's a really big challenge sitting right in front of us, and we want to make the most of it."
With an unprecedented week off between the preliminary and Grand Finals, Goodwin said his side would take three or four days to take a break from football, before building up to a physical match simulation next weekend.