Thrice dropped this season, Dom Sheed began doubting himself and even feared for his career.
West Coast was surging towards a September to remember, whereas at one stage Sheed, 23, spent a month on the outside looking in.
Then Andrew Gaff whacked Andrew Brayshaw in round 20, and everything changed.
That action, which cost Gaff an eight-match suspension that may end his Eagles career, gifted Sheed another senior opportunity – and he hasn't looked back.
The inside midfielder's crowning moment came in Saturday's AFL Grand Final, where he put West Coast in front for good with an expert finish from an acute angle inside the final two minutes.
"It's been a rollercoaster season, not just for me personally, but for the club as a whole," Sheed told AFL.com.au.
"We've had a lot of ups and downs, and you feel for the blokes who you know are in the best 22, but aren't out there playing.
"It's next-man-up type mentality and I was just lucky I got my opportunity in the end and I'm very fortunate to be there at the pointy end of the year."
Sheed's Grand Final performance will likely be best remembered for his match-winning goal off his left boot, but he was excellent from go-to-whoa.
He had 20 disposals to half-time and finished with 32 (15 contested), eight clearances, six inside 50s and three rebound 50s in an all-round display.
Those WAFL days might not be far in the rearview mirror, but might as well be a distant memory.
Sheed has helped transform the Eagles from a middle-of-the-road contested ball unit into a force in the clinches throughout the finals series.
His averages in the six-game sample since his latest recall make for pretty reading: 28.2 disposals (11 contested), 4.7 clearances, 4.5 inside 50s and six score involvements.
West Coast coach Adam Simpson wouldn't have even contemplated dropping him again.
"You're in your fifth year and you're getting dropped back to the WAFL, so you start to question where you're at as a footballer," Sheed said.
"I just wasn't playing the footy that 'Simmo' knew I was capable of, so I went back to the WAFL to try and build some confidence and string together a few good games.
"Through Gaffy's incident, I got my opportunity again."
Sheed didn't climb out of the mire by himself, crediting a wide array of support including outgoing Eagles assistant and Brownlow medallist Sam Mitchell.
"Sam Mitchell's been great. I think we're going to enjoy him for the next couple of weeks while we have him, because he's obviously going (back to Victoria)," Sheed said.
"He's been an unbelievable mentor for me personally, and the senior mids helped me along the way and my family, my friends – they've all been there riding the rollercoaster with me.
"I can't thank them enough."