A horror run with injury forced Matt James into the coaching box at an early age.
But in just his second season at the Waubra helm, the passionate off-field leader has taken his team right to the top of the Central Highlands Football League.
"Relief and excitement" were James' initial feelings as the team ignited celebrations in the rooms at Mars Stadium on Saturday.
"After last year we were two points off coming here... but getting here wasn't enough," James said.
"We wanted to win today and we were able to execute everything we wanted. The boys were unreal."
The former Redan footballer, who joined Waubra ahead of its 2015 campaign, has been sidelined by serious ankle, foot and knee issues.
After being announced as Grant Luscombe's replacement before the 2018 season, James said coaching had been a way to remain in the game he loved.
"If the body was perfect, I'd be playing and not coaching, but basically the only reason I'm coaching is because my body is shot and not much good," James said in July 2017.
"I guess that's the cards that are dealt sometimes. In an ideal world I'd be playing on a Saturday, but this is a good second best at this stage."
James has helped lead the young Roos with skipper Tom Nash, who secured his second senior flag with the club on Saturday.
Nash said the grand final triumph was a big moment for the entire club and community.
"We pretty much retained the whole playing group (from 2018) I suppose and then brought in a couple of wise heads like John Coleman and Paul Dodds," he said.
"We are really proud and we are going to celebrate accordingly over the next few days."
Nash played a big hand in the team's triumph, kicking an early goal on his way to being named second best for the Roos.
He also paid tribute to the Waubra defence on Saturday and rightly so. The Roos kept the Burras to just one goal in the first half and to just six for the match.
Importantly for Waubra, century goal-kicker Sam Dunstan was held to just two majors all afternoon.
"I thought our backline was just tremendous," Nash said.
"Jackson Kinna, James Petrie, everyone played their role. Even Ben McDonald on Izaac Grant, who is a dangerous player.
"We just played our roles today and got the job done.
"When I was in that 2011 grand final I was 18 and I enjoyed it, but probably didn't learn to appreciate it as much as what I appreciate this one."