On Saturday night, Paul and Cath McDonald will watch their son Tom play in the biggest game of his 193-game AFL career.
However, they won't be watching from the stands or even in the same state.
When Tom's Melbourne Demons take on the Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium in Perth, they will be 3000km away, at their farm outside of Edenhope.
Ahead of the game, the McDonald family is experiencing a mix of nerves and excitement but can't wait for the match to start.
"I'd say we're very excited," Paul said.
Daughter Laura, who just had her wisdom teeth removed, will also be watching the match from the McDonald home.
However, lockdown restrictions have prevented the remaining McDonald clan members from gathering to watch the game.
"It's quite nice because of my sick leave I get to come home and they can look after me for the week and watch the game together. It wouldn't have happened otherwise," Laura said.
Despite the restrictions, the family is grateful to see Tom play on the AFL's greatest stage.
It's hasn't been an easy ride for the 29-year-old from the North Ballarat Rebels, taken with pick number 53 in the 2010 draft.
He moved to St Patrick's College in Ballarat in late high school, following longtime Rebels talent operation lead Phil Partington's advice.
Up until that point, he had been commuting to Ballarat for training every week.
"He was nicknamed the travelling man," Paul laughed.
"Because Cath would pick him up from school, take him down to Horsham, he'd jump on the bus from there, go to Ballarat and come back again. It was around an 800km round trip.
"He wouldn't get home until midnight on a Thursday and then Parto just said, look try and get him to school in Ballarat because he's showed more and more progress."
In his first season (2011), McDonald made his AFL debut in round 23, playing as a backman in the Demons' win against Gold Coast.
The side finished 13th that year, and the worst was still to come.
McDonald's early years came in a torrid period for the Dees, and he subsequently only played in nine wins from his first 39 games.
The Dees changed coaches on several occasions during that period and didn't finish higher than 13th in Tom's first five seasons.
"Tom was basically drafted and a year later had to be the key back in a team that was struggling for five or six years," Cath said.
Over that time, some long-suffering Demons fans began to take their frustrations out on the players, some even in an offensive manner.
"In 2013 or 14, I think they won two or three games for the year and Tom was coming off and they were spitting on him and the abuse was ridiculous," Paul said.
However, the tide turned in 2018 when under current coach Simon Goodwin the side rose to a preliminary final appearance before ultimately going down to West Coast by 66-points.
Tom moved to the forward line and became a revelation, kicking 53 goals for the Demons.
Unfortunately, 2018 looked to be an early dawn as the Demons missed finals the following two years, finishing 17th and ninth, respectively.
In 2021, following some positive recruiting, drafting and development, the Demons have reversed their fortunes and look a more polished unit than in 2018.
With Tom, now the side's most experienced player game-wise, playing alongside superstars like Max Gawn, Clayton Oliver, Christian Petracca and Steven May, the club goes into the decider as favourites.
The Bulldogs do have a plethora of star players themselves, including Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Macrae, Caleb Daniel and Aaron Naughton and will require the Dees to be at their best if they are to win.
According to Cath, Tom is feeling "quite calm" ahead of the grand final.
"With this two weeks, they had that first week where they just knew they couldn't get too nervous for a whole fortnight - it's been such a long break," she said.
"He said to me, 'I really didn't believe I'd be playing in a grand final'."
Whether or not the Demons do ultimately get up on Saturday, the entirety of the greater Edenhope community will undoubtedly be proud to see one of their favourite sons play in the AFL's greatest spectacle.
But if the Dees do happen to break their premiership drought, you can guarantee that there will be a fair bit of celebrating and Zoom-calling over at the McDonald's farm.
"It'll be a very, very happy occasion," Paul smiled.
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