A STUNNING 24-possession, three-goal performance in Hawthorn's curse-ending win against Geelong in the preliminary final cemented Shaun Burgoyne's status as a big game master.

Described by dual Norm Smith medallist Andrew McLeod as "pure class", Burgoyne has drawn similar praise from former Port Adelaide teammate Daniel Motlop.

The two played alongside each other at Alberton for four seasons from 2006-2009 and remain close friends.

Burgoyne is held in the highest regard by the former Power forward, who rated the 30-year-old as the best kick he'd played with.

But elite foot skills are useless unless executed under pressure and, in recounting Burgoyne's 21 disposals, 10 tackles and eight clearances in last year's losing Grand Final, Motlop said the veteran of an incredible 23 finals appearances thrived as the stakes grew bigger.

Since crossing from the Power to Hawthorn at the end of 2009, Burgoyne has averaged 21 touches a game in nine September outings. Remarkably, Saturday will be his fourth Grand Final.

"When he's had to stand up in big games, I think last year [against] Sydney was one of the main ones, he's really performed," Motlop told AFL.com.au.

"You know that at some stage Hawthorn are going to need that from him.

"He just knows he can make his mark on a game, he's confident in front of a big crowd on the big stage.

"He knows that's what's expected of him when that time comes."

Just as Motlop's skills were among the best in the game during his heyday, so too are Burgoyne's today.

Whether rebounding from defence or in front of goal, the ball is in safe hands when they belong to Burgoyne.

Motlop insisted few players could give a leading forward the same level of confidence as the veteran Hawk.

"When you see Shaun coming out of the centre you know you're going to get hit straight in the hands - he'd put it pretty much centimetre perfect," he said.

"You didn't have to jump or break stride, you could just keep leading as hard as you could.

"Shaun would just give it that length so you could run on to it. There wasn't much defenders could do."

Not only is Burgoyne one of the most skilful players Motlop had the pleasure of playing with, he was one of the toughest, too.

If Saturday's weather forecast stays true and the premiership decider is a slippery contest, Burgoyne's ball-winning ability on the inside could prove just as important as his elite kick.

"At Port Adelaide people probably thought he was more of an outside player because we had Dom Cassisi, Josh Carr and those sorts of players, but Shaun and (his brother) Peter have always been really tough players," Motlop said.

"When it's time to go in hard, they're as tough as anyone at the ball and the player.

"He's going to be very important in that area."

Burgoyne's professionalism off the field made him the complete package, Motlop said, as he credited the former Power star with helping him rejuvenate his career after being traded to Port by North Melbourne at the end of 2005.

Motlop lived with Shaun and his wife Amy for the first few months into his time in Adelaide.

"It probably doesn't get noted enough, but he's elite at being professional," he said.

"I lost a lot of weight and I had probably three of my best years at Port Adelaide around the Burgoynes.

"I learnt a lot about the level I needed to be at because at North Melbourne I wasn't anywhere near it."

Twitter: @AFL_Harry