AFL umpires are not often the centre of attention during matches, but an official in Brisbane's win over Fremantle on Sunday flipped the script on its head.
A fourth straight win moved the Lions back to fifth, with Hugh McCluggage oozing class in a 24-point defeat of the Dockers that threatened to blow out at the Gabba.
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The silky Lions wingman ensured the absence of injured Brownlow Medallist Lachie Neale wasn't felt as the hosts ran out 14.11 (95) to 10.11 (71) winners in a game that was first scheduled to be played at Perth's Optus Stadium.
While praise was deservedly heaped on McCluggage after the match, an unexpected cult hero emerged during the contest after a brilliant moment involving a goal umpire made its way to the top of the highlights reel.
The official found himself in the thick of the action when Dockers ruckman Sean Darcy took a shot at goal from outside 50.
A cluster of players from both sides stood alongside the umpire in a packed space in between the goal posts as the ball sailed towards them.
The umpire only had eyes for the ball as he edged across the goal line towards the competing pack of players.
He ended up positioning himself so close to the players that Brisbane's Joe Daniher tried to launch himself off the umpire to effect a spoil.
Commentators were left in stitches by the hilarious moment, with the goal umpire becoming the talk of the AFL world.
“That will go straight into the pool room for the goal umpire,” Western Bulldogs great Brad Johnson said on Fox Sports.
“That is brilliant, what a shot. Joe (Daniher)’s used him as a step ladder to try and spoil the ball.
“Well done, well done. That is awesome.
“He just stepped left when he should have stepped right.”
Gerard Healy added: “Those eyes did not leave the ball. They were staring eyes.
“That is great … the goal umpire has stolen the show.”
Darcy was eventually awarded the goal after several replays of the incident were reviewed.
McCluggage stars in Lions win
Brisbane's win was spearheaded by McCluggage, who finished with 27 disposals, one goal and four goal assists.
Lions coach Chris Fagan admitted his All-Australian contender had "gone up a little notch from where he was last year".
His service to the Lions' small forwards stood out, McCluggage spinning out of the clutches of two Dockers tacklers and hitting Charlie Cameron on the chest as the lead swelled to 34 points at halftime.
Every Lions forward kicked a goal but Cameron (11 marks, three goals, five behinds) was the standout with five first-quarter marks inside 50m, only inaccuracy robbing him of a night out against the West Australians.
Two goals each to Caleb Serong and Matt Taberner, including one either side of halftime from the tall forward, gave the visitors a sniff but Cameron's third and a drilled major from Jarryd Lyons (30 disposals) quickly snuffed that out.
The lead hit 47 points in the third term before Fremantle kicked the game's last three goals, while Fremantle also led the inside-50 count 52-49.
The Lions moved to 5-3 and up to fifth ahead of Sydney and West Coast - a win behind third-placed Port Adelaide - after they'd slumped to 1-3, while it was the Dockers' (4-4) second-straight loss.
"I never feel like we are humming along," Brisbane coach Chris Fagan said.
"I always coach better when I think like that and I think our players play better when they think like that too.
"It's been a good recovery ... psychologically it's tough when you are 1-3 and people are sort of predicting doom and gloom for your season."
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