Hawthorn fullback Brian Lake is so rapt to finally be playing in an AFL decider he jokingly professed his love for teammate Ben Stratton in the wake of the preliminary final win over Geelong.
The 217-game veteran is trying to tell himself it's just another week as he prepares to complete a remarkable first year with his new club in Saturday's grand final against Fremantle.
Lake joined the Hawks in late 2012 after 11 seasons with the Western Bulldogs.
Three times Lake played in losing preliminary-final sides with the Bulldogs, and the South Australian usually spends grand final day having a few beers with his mates.
"We were sitting in the car park having a bit of a barbecue (last year)," Lake told reporters on Monday.
"I've been to every grand final bar the drawn ones since I've been drafted so it's definitely a different experience.
"It's a little bit surreal still. You could say the plan has gone to script so far but there's still one week to go.
"I'm going to enjoy the week. The kids at home, they're pretty excited for the parade (on Friday)."
Lake says the decision to switch clubs wasn't an easy one.
"You're getting on in age at 31," he said.
"At the Dogs at that stage, I thought I'm not going to get this opportunity at the club so I need to make a decision so I can experience this.
"That (grand finals) is why we play football.
"But coming into a grand final week, it's a pretty good decision."
The laidback Lake said the fact the Hawks were actively chasing him was a big factor in deciding to make the move.
"Their need for a fullback. Everything has fallen into place with that," Lake said.
But the script wasn't quite going to plan with Geelong leading by 20 points at three-quarter time in last Friday's preliminary final.
"I was a little bit nervous," Lake smiled.
"When it counted (fellow defender Stratton) stood up and took some really good marks in that last quarter.
"We got around him afterwards. I might have said I loved him.
"In a perfect script, we finish off with a premiership."
And if the Hawks find a way past the Dockers, Lake will be able to toast the win with a bottle of 1997 Grange Hermitage given to him by his brother as a gift for making the grand final.
"I was hoping for a 2008 because that's meant to be a good year," Lake said.