Opportunist Sydney forward Mitch Morton has come from the clouds to grasp his greatest opportunity yet, a spot in the Swans team to play Hawthorn in tomorrow's grand final at the MCG.
Morton did not play seniors until round 21 this season after switching from Richmond at the end of last season, but has found his place in the side at the right time and had his grand final spot sealed earlier this week when close friend Ben McGlynn had to withdraw with a hamstring injury.
The 25-year-old was at West Coast when they played Sydney in both the 2005 and 2006 deciders.
He also spent time away from Richmond last year because of undisclosed personal problems.
Noel Morton, a 1981 Claremont premiership player, last night praised the persistence of the eldest of his three sons for fighting through adversity to keep his dream alive at his third club.
Sydney made no change to the team which beat Collingwood in last Friday night's preliminary final, naming Trent Dennis-Lane, Tony Armstrong and Tommy Walsh as emergencies.
"He's had a good second half to the year and obviously we're really excited about the opportunities the Swans have given him," Morton Sr said.
"For where he's come from, he's had to work so hard and we're just so pleased and thrilled for him.
"He's worked really hard for it and grasped the Swans way and we're just so hopeful they can get up and have a win because they're a fantastic footy club.
"He's moved on from everything that's happened in the past and put it behind him, but he's never waned in his belief.
"It's great that the Swans saw something in him and it's great to see him rewarded for his hard work.
"We're enormously proud of him (for) not giving up."
Morton's mother, Valda, will join her husband and their other sons, Jarryd and Cale, in the stands of the MCG as part of a family clan which will also include his aunty and WA-based grandmother.
His uncle, Clive Morton, will be a missing member of the family camp because of construction work commitments in the State's North West.
The Mortons saw Jarryd de-listed by Hawthorn at the end of last season and have watched with frustration as Cale has fought a horrid injury run in a bid to fulfil his potential with Melbourne.
Morton Sr admitted there had been some "nail-biting" as Mitch waited to see if he held his spot.
But the family was now preparing for a euphoric end to the week.
"It's a fine line between success and not succeeding - it's a game of inches really," Morton Sr said.
"My wife refers to it as a rollercoaster and when you have three of them, it's a fair old rollercoaster ride, I can tell you. But that's football and the higher level you get to, the more it's like that."It's great that the Swans saw something in him. " *Noel Morton * * *
Do the Eagles get away with ducking when tackled?Vote
Do you have a story for us to investigate?
'The West Australian' is a trademark of West Australian Newspapers Limited 2013.
All rights reserved.
Select your state to see news for your area.