There's a certain pressure that comes with being the reigning premiers.
It only amplifies when you stand on the edge of history.
Crowned the BFNL's best in 2018 and 2019, East Point entered the new year chasing something special.
Never in the club's history had it won three consecutive premierships. Only two others had achieved the feat in the league's modern era.
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Steadfast as they may be internally, pressure was piled on to the Roos externally.
They were flag favourites, and it was a tag that seemed to bear heavily on them on the opening day.
The first round brought a grand final re-match against Sebastopol at Eastern Oval.
A rampant start was a sign of a side capable of anything, but what followed would plague the Roos for the season's first month.
The hosts conceded a five-goal half-time lead to open their campaign with an 18-point loss.
The league was reminded of the Roos' mortality.
A win against Lake Wendouree the following weekend corrected the record, but it wasn't without its scares.
The Lakers held a three-goal lead and controlled most of the fixture until the Roos rescued a result with a seven-goal final quarter.
It was a similar story against Sunbury.
Despite dominating against the Lions, East Point could only manage three behinds in the final quarter to sour the win.
Consistency troubled the Roos, and it evaded them completely in round four.
Ahead by two goals at the first quarter, East Point fell away to suffer a 31-point loss to Bacchus Marsh.
East Point did not finish any of its first four matches with a full quota of players.
Cameron Lovig was plagued by concussion setbacks. Clay Bilney and Dallas Martin were all but ruled out for the year. Jesse Baird and Aden Nestor were battling hamstring complaints, and the club had been unable to call on its VFL-aligned talent.
A nearing full-strength Roos travelled to Melton in round five, but it was a match touched by circumstances.
The weekend before, the Bloods had seen loved teammate Dyson Stevens leave the field in an ambulance after shattering his spinal cord incidentally while laying a tackle.
He was still in intensive care when the Roos arrived at MacPherson Park.
A 41-point win was welcomed by East Point, but it was placed into perspective.
The Roos had the chance to move into second when they hosted North Ballarat in round six.
Instead, they sunk to fifth, nursing a big psychological blow.
With a 105-point win, the Roosters announced themselves - the league had a new benchmark side.
The season's first COVID break wouldn't be kind to East Point.
After three weeks off, the Roos had to return coachless, Jake Bridges housebound, awaiting the result of a COVID test after returning from a NSW red zone.
What he missed was a deflating performance.
The Roos lead at every break until the final siren when the drought was broken. Ballarat had beaten East Point for the first time in five years.
The following weekend would herald one of the season's biggest surprises.
East Point unveiled star mid-season recruit, Darren Jolly, in its 88-point dismantling of Darley.
The two-time AFL premiership ruck would provide added size on the park and become integral to the side's late-season charge.
The push was postponed for a week as sore bodies embraced the bye before the Roos steamrolled over Melton South by 84 points.
It will be a match forever remembered by one performance.
On his return from the VFL, Joel Ottavi kicked 17 goals. The Williamstown-aligned forward bagged 30 goals from his four-game to finish second on the league's goalkicking ranks.
The Roos returned from the second COVID break with finals all but a sure thing.
A huge victory against Redan wasn't enough to push into the top two, but kept East Point treading water until the season's end.
After fighting back hard to salvage a stuttering campaign, that was it.
No third-straight premiership - not until next year, at least.
3rd, 6 wins, 4 losses, 24pts, 140.87 per cent
Rd 1: def by Sebastopol, 11.8 (74) to 13.14 (92)
Rd 2: beat Lake Wendouree, 14.13 (97) to 7.8 (50)
Rd 3: beat Sunbury, 13.15 (93) to 9.16 (70)
Rd 4: def by Bacchus Marsh, 8.8 (56) to 13.9 (87)
Rd 5: beat Melton, 13.15 (93) to 7.10 (52)
Rd 6: def by North Ballarat, 11.14 (80) to 16.9 (105)
Rd 7: def by Ballarat, 9.11 (65) to 9.17 (71)
Rd 8: beat Darley, 17.15 (117) to 4.5 (29)
Rd 9: BYE
Rd 10: beat Melton South, 26.10 (166) to 13.4 (82)
Rd 11: beat Redan, 19.17 (131) to 7.10 (52)