As much as it hurt at the time, missing out on Richmond's 2017 AFL grand final victory has proven to be the making of Jayden Short.
The talented small defender was a mainstay of the Tigers' team for 16 straight matches from round two in his second season but a poor performance in round 18 came with a huge cost.
Dropped, Short didn't play again as the Tigers marched to the premiership, heartbreakingly named as an emergency for the grand final triumph three years ago.
At a club where the overall system is king and players either find their niche or fall away, Short used that disappointment as motivation to discover how he could become a part of Richmond's grand plan.
His biggest asset was his ability to distribute by foot off either side, equally comfortable on his non-preferred left as his right - a craft honed in his childhood under the encouragement of father Greg.
"I love kicking and it was always pretty important to him that I knew how to kick both feet and stuff like that," Short told AAP.
"It was not sort of something I ever thought would get me a game or anything ... just the ability to to get it out of the backline, I suppose, with a long kick, try to hit a target as best I can, probably does help me a little bit."
That skill transformed Short from gap-filler to the man who gets the ball moving out of Richmond's backline - the role he needed to become a Tigers' mainstay.
"Previous to 2018 I was probably a sort of a plug-type player ... playing forward, back, wing and stuff like that," Short said.
"I never really had a cemented spot ... Thanks to the coaches ... they found that role for me and from then on, I've just tried to improve on what I can do and play to my strengths."
His role discovered, Short erased the hurt of 2017 in last year's grand final triumph over Greater Western Sydney.
Now, he's on the verge of winning back-to-back flags with Richmond to play Geelong in Saturday's grand final at the Gabba.
After the disappointment of three years ago, it's an achievement he is certainly not taking for granted.
"Obviously it's a great position to be in and very grateful... Not much feels too much different (to last year) yet but it might later in the week, Short said.
Australian Associated Press