Darcy Parish's AFL career has been a slow-burn, but the Essendon midfielder arrived with one of the great Anzac Day performances.
He became just the second player - after Collingwood's Dane Swan in 2012 - to collect more than 40 possessions in the traditional MCG blockbuster.
The 23-year-old's masterclass helped the Bombers power past the Magpies in what was an exciting sign for the club's future.
In just three of his previous 98 games had Parish finished with more than 30 possessions, but on Sunday he collected 42 - and two goals - in front of a crowd of 78,113.
"When (Dylan Shiel) and (Jye Caldwell) went down against Port Adelaide there was a bit more opportunity for me to step up and play a bit more midfield," Parish said.
"I played a bit forward today in patches and it's a real strength of mine that I can go into the midfield and play up forward.
"My running really went up this pre-season and worked really hard with that."
Essendon coach Ben Rutten was rapt Parish could deliver on the big stage.
A former No.5 draft pick, Parish has been somewhat of a whipping boy for Bombers supporters, but that tag is bound to be left behind.
"The work he's (Parish) putting in we're starting to see more of during the game and today was a standout performance," Rutten said.
"We don't expect that from him every week, we like it when we get it, but we're getting guys pop up more and more."
Essendon have another rival to contend with next Sunday when they return to the MCG to face Carlton.