BRAYDEN O'Hara felt his calf injury was fine. Then, five minutes into the biggest game, of the season, "it went ping".
It was at that moment the Wagga Tigers gun feared his grand final may have come to a premature end.
Luckily some physio work on the issue helped enough for him to play on and kick three vital, classy goals for his adopted side's 16.8 (104) to 12.11 (83) win over Leeton-Whitton at Robertson Oval.
Two of those goals came in the Tigers' second quarter run where they piled on six unanswered goals with the use of a strong breeze to set up the victory.
"Going into the game it actually felt alright on Thursday night," O'Hara said.
"I trained fully and at 100 per cent so I thought it would be OK, but five minutes in it went ping and I had to get a fair bit of work done.
"When I was out there I thought I'd better do something, so I was lucky I kicked a few goals."
The Albury recruit initially feared he may leave his team a man short for the decider.
"When it first went it was that tight, I couldn't move. I did think straight away that I don't know if I can keep going," he said.
"After they worked on it it eased a bit, but it wasn't great.
"What went straight through the head was 'don't let the team down now, try to get out there and play some sort of role.'
"I was lucky to kick a couple and help the team out, that's all that matters in the big games."
The win improved an already stellar grand final record for O'Hara, who has has eight premiership medals in ten attempts.
Tigers coach Troy Maiden said his leadership had been an unexpected plus this season after the Ovens and Murray competition was cancelled.
"Brayden is a class player, he's played at a high level and for him to come to our club impart his knowledge on the younger guys has been invaluable," Maiden said.
"He got really tight but he knew he could work through it and maybe not go through the midfield, but he's still a very dangerous forward."