IF YOU lined up the 22 Geelong players that took the field against North Melbourne yesterday and asked Cats fans who would be the hero, George Horlin-Smith would have hardly polled a vote.
But football doesn't work to a precise script.
And so it was left to a 24-year-old who had kicked just two goals across the last two seasons to deliver his side the four points.
Horlin-Smith attacked a ground ball low and hard at a critical point of the game. With just 90 seconds remaining, he was taken high by opposition ruckman Braydon Preuss and awarded a free kick.
At the time the Cats trailed by five points and had not led since the four-minute mark of the first term. Time was of the essence but even more important was Horlin-Smith executing his set shot.
He connected sweetly and the Sherrin sailed through. It was the last score of the game.
"It's huge for the kid's confidence," Geelong skipper Joel Selwood told Fox Footy.
"He's been there and there abouts. He's just getting in the road at the moment and playing the job that we need him to and that's what you need sometimes."
Horlin-Smith's backstory is one of limited opportunities interspersed with mouth-watering performances, largely at VFL level.
Yesterday afternoon's thrilling clash against North Melbourne was Horlin-Smith's 42nd AFL game.
Aside from perhaps his debut. It will be his most memorable.
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