There were times during Rodney Eade's tenure as coach of the Western Bulldogs that Brian Lake would have made Eade tear is hair out.
Lake was mercurial by the traditional definition of the word, capable of reaching the highest of performance peaks, and sometimes plummeting depths so low that Eade would bury his head in his hands.
On this day in 2010, though, it's highly unlikely Eade would have anything but smiles and praise for Brian.
Lake played a game for the ages ten years ago today, his dominance a key factor in the Bulldogs putting North Melbourne to the sword to record a crushing win.
Lake's performance on that Saturday afternoon at Docklands was one out of the box. In fact, it was so far out of the box that his possession tally of 41 was thirteen more than the second-highest of his 251-game AFL career, 28 against Brisbane at the Gabba in Round 11, 2007.
So dominant was Brian Lake in the air that day, he took an incredible 22 marks for the match. That's a figure that has not been bettered by any AFL player since and it ranks fourth on the ‘Most Marks in a Game’ list (dating back to 1965).
Lake himself is the equal record-holder. He took 24 marks in the Brisbane match in 2007.
The match itself was a great one for the entire Doggies team. They burst out of the blocks with a six-goal-to-nil first term, and added five to two in the second quarter to lead by 45 points at the long break.
Another seven goals in the third quarter took the Bulldogs' lead out to 75 points at the last change of ends. The Dogs dropped down a gear in the final term but still ran out winners by 70 points in a dominant team display.
One of the few times during the afternoon that the focus shifted away from Lake was when a scuffle broke out between North's Scott Thompson and Bulldog full forward Barry Hall. Hall applied a headlock to Thompson after the Kangaroo had bumped him while he was tying his shoelace during a break in play. Hall had the last laugh, kicking three goals for the winners.
Lake's backline lieutenants, Ryan Hargrave and Jarrod Harbrow, also played grand games, Hargrave taking 14 marks of his own in a 34-possession effort and Harbrow picking up 28 touches to earn himself a Brownlow vote.
Midfielder Adam Cooney was at his best, his stats — 21 kicks, 15 handballs, nine marks, five tackles and two goals — rewarded with two votes from the umpires.
But the three votes, of course went to Lake, who played the outstanding game of his career. It was a performance that not only impressed the umpires, but also gave Lake a week off from his regular berating from coach Rodney Eade!