IT'S a tradition Sarah and Emily O'Leary held dear. They smile in delight as the memories come flooding back.
Every week, after the siren rang, they'd run excitedly out onto the football field in search of their dad, Mark. The gentle giant with the iconic moustache known best as 'Grunta', universally remembered as The Rock-Yerong Creek's greatest ever player.
They'd hug the tough-as-teak ruckman's enormous legs before heading into the dressing rooms to sing the team song.
Before he passed away in February, 2013, football and pig hunting were Mark O'Leary's great passions. But there is little doubt his girls were the love of his life.
Sarah, now 21, and Emily, 23, were virtual mascots as kids growing up. Dolled up in black and white face paint and streamers, cheering their dad and his Magpies on to four flags.
His two former clubs, TRYC and East Wagga-Kooringal, will clash for the annual Mark O'Leary Cup at Gumly Oval on Saturday.
"A big one for us was as soon as the siren would go we'd run out and look for dad and he'd always take us in and sing the song with him," Emily said.
"That was a tradition."
THE 2013 SEASON
Emotionally, it was the toughest campaign the Magpies have ever endured.
They also lost another clubman that season in Blake Gibson, who also took his own life.
"It's become a real focus of mine as a coach, I try to keep an eye out for players now and if I see that they're down I ask 'are you all right mate, are you OK'?", then coach Michael Mazzocchi was quoted as saying in The Daily Advertiser, on the eve of losing the grand final to Temora.
When news filtered through, it devastated the club. The Magpies community made a pact to help the O'Leary clan through the hardship as best they could.
The Magpies joined forces with his former club East Wagga-Kooringal to launch the Mark O'Leary Cup, an annual tradition which will continue at Gumly Oval on Saturday.
"The feeling within our club was that 'Grunta' had done so much for our club over the years that it was our turn to give something back," Mazzocchi said.
"After the first O'Leary Cup we had a function and auction and there was a massive amount of money raised that night. It all went to the O'Leary family to help them through that tough time."
Mazzocchi said Magpies, players and officials helped each other cope with the grief of losing a mate.
"It was very tough on them, but that's where footy players come into their own. It's like a little community that look after each other," he said.
"I still remember the funeral, it was the biggest one I've ever been to. People who we played with and against were there, his name was mentioned a lot that season."
The youngest of Mark's four daughters, Lilly, was just four when Mark died. Chloe was eight.
But Sarah and Emily vividly remember the outpouring of support from the community at the post-match function.
"It was nice to see the impact he made on people's lives and what he meant to people," Sarah said.
Emily adds: "East Wagga and The Rock combined to do that big fundraiser for us, we'll be forever grateful for that.
"I think it's the best thing about being from a small community, they really helped out."
THE GENTLE GIANT
O'Leary was a little like Jekyll and Hyde.
There was never a more ruthless and competitive player to pull on the black and white. Only the bravest, or the foolish, stood between him and his insatiable desire to win the ball.
Respect is the first word that enters former The Rock-Yerong Creek player-coach Mick Mazzocchi when asked of his memories of O'Leary.
"It's pretty unanimous he was the greatest player to play for our club," Mazzocchi said.
"He was just the toughest, greatest player to step onto Victoria Park and he just had so much passion for the club and his mates.
"That's why he had so much respect, everyone just loved the bloke because he put the club and mates before everyone else."
O'Leary won multiple premierships as a Magpie, and a Nitschke-Schmidt medal for best on ground in the 2006 decider.
Not only was he a fine footballer, his teammates walked a little taller with the knowledge he'd have their back on the field.
There was many a teenage debutant he assured he would protect on the field. "Just play footy, try and get a kick, and I'll take care of the rest."
He was feared on the field but loved by all, including those he dominated, off it. A gentle giant in every sense of the word.
"You wouldn't want to play against him but the minute that siren rang and he stepped over the white line, he'd be the first to shake hands and have a beer with the opposition," Mazzocchi said.
"It didn't matter whether they spent two hours trying to rip his head off.
"It was a polarising difference. He was the quietest bloke and family man off the ground, but once he stepped on the field he was there to win and to win for his mates, nothing got in his way."
Fittingly, Mazzocchi compared his playing style and dominance to another ruckman in black and white.
"He got around the ground like Brodie Grundy does now for Collingwood, he was another on-baller for us," Mazzocchi said.
"He'd always be the first one to go in and crash and bash to win the footy. He's universally known as one of the toughest and fiercest blokes out there, but he was also an exceptional footballer in his own right.
"There's no hiding the fact we hadn't won a lot of premierships until Mark O'Leary came to our club. A lot of that was Mark O'Leary putting the team on his back and carrying them across the line."
Emily said the Mark O'Leary Cup helps Lilly and Chloe grasp the legend status their father enjoys in the Riverina football community.
"That's why this day is so important, for them to understand how much of an impact their dad had on both clubs," she said.
"It's really nice for them to have people remember him on this day, they missed out on that a little bit."
THE COMPETITIVE STREAK
Emily and Sarah inherited many traits from their dad. Laidback and caring. But once they step foot on a netball court, all bets are off.
After a brief stint playing for North Wagga, they returned to captain and coach TRYC to the past two premierships, and are unbeaten this season in their search for a three-peat.
The first premiership was emotional, knowing they had followed in their dad's footsteps by bring another cup to Victoria Park.
"We knew how proud he would have been of us. We really wanted to do it for our team and for Emily as a coach, but also we wanted to do it for dad," Sarah said.
"We came back to the club and we knew how proud he would have been of us."
Emily said adding to their dad's legacy was a huge motivation to return to the club.
"We grew up here, it was a big pull to come back and get success of our own," she said.
"He would prefer us to play where we're happy but we know he always loved The Rock, it was his number one club.
"We've been part of so many grand finals (watching Mark), but it was awesome to do it ourselves with the last two we've won.
"He really set up that winning culture for us. We have that a little bit too, we have that hunger to win."
Sarah adds: "He played at both clubs and made a big impact, but Dad always wanted us to play here.
"Everyone saw how friendly he was, but he did have white line fever."
That extended to when Mark ventured over to the courts to watch his girls.
"He would watch us play netball and support us," Emily begins, before Sarah interjects: "Probably a bit too much."
"He was very competitive, I told him you can't yell at netball like at the footy," Emily laughs.
"His passion was footy but he didn't get boys, but he loved seeing us come through the netball club."
Every chance he got, O'Leary would disappear into the bush to chase pigs. Like the pied piper, Nicky says his daughters "would be two steps behind him".
"A lot of blokes would go hunting with a mate but Grunter was taking his girls with him. He just loved those girls and his family, he was a real family man," Mazzocchi said.
Sarah and Emily were far from reluctant passengers on pig hunting trips.
"We were tomboys," Emily said.
"It was nice, you could go out there and forget about your worries, spend time with dad."
Sarah loved sitting on the back of the truck with the dogs.
"Dad didn't have any boys, so we had to be his boys," Sarah.
"AFL and pig hunting were his two big passions, pretty much wherever he went, we went.
"We didn't know any different, it's just what we did."
They played football when they were little, but both insist it's unlikely they'll play it competitively.
"I don't think I'm tough enough," Emily admits.
"The boys always try and convince me but I like netball too much," Sarah says.
CONTINUING HIS LEGACY
"The girls were his life. They were always with him at training," current TRYC player and O'Leary's long-time teammate David Pieper said.
Mazzocchi, who was first grade player-coach when O'Leary passed away, said Emily and Sarah were always tagging along with dad at training and games.
"Back in the day I remember the two older ones as tiny little ones, they were almost like our mascots on grand final day," Mazzocchi said.
"They never missed a game and as the younger girls (Lilly and Chloe) came along they were the same.
"Now the girls are back and they're a massive heart and soul of our netball club and winning premierships. It's great to see them carrying the name through.
"Both Emily and Sarah are exceptional netballers in their own right. "It's great to have them at the club, they're great people."
It's not uncommon for Magpies coaches to 'use the O'Leary card' when searching for a lift from their troops.
"Whenever there's a big game or something on the line, all the previous coaches I can remember would mention him," Pieper, who also coached the club for four seasons, said.
"I used to do it myself, you'd bring him up and how he used to go about things.
"He set the club up over those years, why we've been successful for 20 years was predominately because of him.
"A lot of blokes who played with him seemed to be able to play a lot better than their ability, just because of the confidence that came from having him around them."
The Magpies are keen to wrest the Cup from East Wagga's grasp after they prevailed last year.
It's more crucial given TRYC lost their first five games of the year by narrow margins, but have found form with two straight victories.
"We always focus on it being a must win for Grunter. But not just for the O'Leary Cup but also for our season," Pieper said.
The family wouldn't wish the heartbreak and grief they went through on anyone.
It's why it's so important for them to remind people who may be struggling to ask for help.
"It's a good thing to not only cherish his memory, but in years coming it's important to have suicide prevention," Emily said.
"If you're not OK, speak up. It's important nowadays to know you're not alone."
Sarah also hopes the Mark O'Leary Cup helps spread the message.
"Get around each other, it's OK to talk," she said.
"At the end of the day your footy club is your family. There's always someone to listen."
Nicky said it's vital in the 'blokey' environment of football clubs, where it may be seen as being weak to speak.
Particularly in the 'blokey' environment of football clubs, where it may be seen as being weak to speak.
"In that generation it wasn't cool, you weren't tough or a man if you did it," she said.
"It's about cutting out that stigma."