MICK Stinear was a man of few, but highly appreciative words after leading his Demons to their first ever AFLW premiership on Sunday afternoon.
He cut a very different figure to the coach who had to front the media after losing a Grand Final just seven months ago, and while two seasons in one year has been a hard slog, it has worked a treat for Melbourne.
"I just feel like this season, we actually got it right, we were able to leverage the fact that we've got great people that would do anything for each other, but convert that into performance," Stinear said post game.
FATHER FIGURES How Stinear and Starcevich weathered the storm
"We were probably really fortunate that the AFLW fast-tracked the next season because we felt like we had a lot of momentum and while Adelaide were far too good last season on Grand Final day and while we needed a break and everyone needed a break but then we were really keen to get back into it and had a clear focus of where we can improve so and the group's just embraced that," Stinear said.
"We seem to strike the right balance with just enjoying the moment and playing for each other, and Daisy led the way with that and just brought out a lot of fulfilment and enjoyment that brought us today."
After conceding the first two goals of the game and heading into the quarter time break 11 points in arrears, Melbourne of the past would have struggled to get the game back on its terms, but this season things have been different.
There is a mental strength that has overlaid the length of the season. In fact, the Demons conceded the first goal in each of their finals to reach Sunday's decider, but their trust in one another and belief as a group has propelled them through.
LIONS v DEMONS Full match coverage and stats
"They just haven't been fazed in the last month or more of footy," Stinear said of his side's grit and determination.
"When put under pressure they just have this belief in each other that they'll figure it out. They've got the tools and ability to stick their nose in front at the end and it's pretty unique and pretty special. So it's been a joy to watch."
Captain Daisy Pearce, sitting alongside her coach, had nothing but words of admiration for Stinear.
DEE-LICIOUS Dees stun Lions to claim maiden premiership
"Just wrapped that we got it done for someone like this bloke," Pearce said.
"I'm just so grateful that since they started the competition, in my elite sporting career, that I've had this guy leading us. Not just because he makes you want to be the best footballer and person you can be but it's just such an incredible environment.
"So it's just such a joy to come to work. Every single season I've turned up thinking we can win this thing."
HAVE YOUR SAY Take our AFLW fan engagement survey NOW