For the Western Bulldogs, there was always plenty to play for leading into Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash against Melbourne.
But for forward Mitch Hannan, there was arguably even more at stake.
The former Dee arrived at the Kennel during last year’s trade period, and after missing the earlier clash in round 11, was keen to face his old side at the MCG.
“There’s obviously a mix of emotions playing against your old team,” Hannan told westernbulldogs.com.au post-match.
“I was pretty disappointed to miss the first one, but to be able to get in (this time), have the win, and kick a couple of goals to help contribute – it’s pretty special for me.
“It was an important win – they got us last time, so there was a bit of redemption involved in that one as well.”
The 27-year-old slotted two goals on the night, with the first sparking a scuffle just before half-time, and the second ultimately sealing the win late.
“There was plenty (of fire) – it probably couldn’t have been worse circumstances as there was a blood rule called at the time, so they had two minutes to talk to me before I lined up,” he recalled of the moments leading up to his first goal.
“Once I kicked it through there was a lot of relief.
“(To be top of the ladder) is great too - the group’s really happy, they’re in a great place and playing some good footy at the right time of the year, so it’s a good place to be.”