Jesse Hogan's season-ending foot injury is the sort of setback that would have left Melbourne rattled during their 12 years in the AFL finals wilderness.
Instead, his replacement Sam Weideman was best afield last Friday night as the Demons roared back into September with the elimination final win over Geelong.
Weideman took seven marks and kicked three goals, combining brilliantly with Tom McDonald as Melbourne's tall forward options.
After Hogan was hurt in the round-21 loss to Sydney, Weideman was recalled for his first senior game in seven weeks.
The 21-year-old has played only 18 AFL matches but Friday night had all the signs of a breakout performance.
Weideman said Hogan and McDonald had been massive for him since his senior recall, in particular praising his injured teammate.
"The good thing about Jesse, he's not hanging his head at all," Weideman said.
"He's been really good around the club.
"It's a very tough time. He's shown a lot about his character."
Immediately after Friday night's big win, Hogan gave his replacement a big hug.
"It makes it so much easier for me, to have that strong relationship with him and keep that team morale up. It's awesome to have," Weideman said.
The respect is mutual, with McDonald laughing when asked if anyone would need to make sure that Weideman is not too carried away about last Friday night's performance.
"You probably haven't met Sam before but there's not much chance of him getting ahead of himself," McDonald said.
"He's pretty reserved, he'll never talk about himself.
"He's probably the opposite ... I don't think we need to worry about that with him."
Weideman and McDonald will be crucial again for Melbourne in Friday night's semi-final against Hawthorn, especially given the Hawks will be without star defender Ben Stratton.
McDonald would love to line up on his old Melbourne teammate James Frawley and happily talked some pre-game trash.
"It will be fun, if it is me, to play on him and a guy I learned a lot from," McDonald said.
"(But) Frawley's chat isn't great - he can't think on his feet real quick."