REPUTATIONS can be made or broken on grand final day and though history will not mark Ben McGlynn as a 2012 premiership player, his standing at the club has never been higher.
Amid the unbridled joy which comes with winning a flag, there are tales of hard luck, and the story of this stricken Swan is the latest chapter.
Few images in the AFL this year will be as sad as that of McGlynn sitting on the bench at AAMI Stadium three weeks ago with tears rolling down his cheek, nursing the hamstring injury which would prevent him realising his premiership dream.
Warm embrace ... Adam Goodes includes Ben McGlynn in the celebrations with fans at Lakeside oval yesterday. Photo: Joe Armao
As Sydney's victorious 22 were presented on the dais and given a rapturous ovation at the club's former home in South Melbourne yesterday, Swans legend Bob Skilton wrapped his arm around McGlynn and consoled him.
''I told him we love him so much - just the way he goes about it, his courage and I just hope he gets another opportunity at some stage because he's just been terrific for us,'' Skilton said. ''To have that happen at that stage, it's just not fair.''
His sentiments echoed the numerous tributes McGlynn received in the past week. He was given a rousing ovation every time his name was mentioned at the Swans' post-match function on Saturday night.
Devastated ... Ben McGlynn sits injured on the bench during the Qualifying Final match against the Adelaide Crows. Photo: Getty Images
''To be recognised by 'Horse' [John Longmire] and the playing group in the couple of hours after the game, it's very humbling,'' McGlynn said yesterday as he spoke publicly for the first time since the Swans were crowned premiers.
''Once Tuesday happened [when McGlynn was ruled out], I went home and had my night by myself and dealing with missing out. I rocked up Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and I was really positive for the boys. I knew I could have an influence on them, I could help the group. To get recognised by most of the playing group last night, to see John Longmire after the game, I was very happy with that.''
Yesterday, McGlynn, still wearing his club suit after a long night of revelry, was a favourite among the club's Melbourne-based supporters at Lakeside Stadium.
One diehard fan pledged to McGlynn, as they shook hands, ''We'll make sure we win it for you next year''.
McGlynn came closer to a miracle recovery than many thought. The midfielder said he reached top speed several times during his fitness test on Tuesday ''but the last time, I just felt tight''.
Had Saturday's match been a draw, which seemed possible during a thrilling final quarter, McGlynn would have been in contention for the replay.
''We had a run around on the oval on Friday. I sprinted through the middle and was kicking it with the boys while they were having shots,'' McGlynn said. ''That was my fitness test. I told the conditioning staff that, if it's a draw, I'll play next week.''
But so strong was McGlynn's team-first ethos, all he wanted was for his teammates to get the job done at the first try. Plus the battle to regain his fitness had taken a toll on the 27-year-old. ''I'm glad the boys got over the line - I couldn't be prouder,'' McGlynn said.