Hawks, Cowboys prove to be king of the kids
SEASON 2015 ended up being one for the family man in the NRL and AFL.
Both major football codes endured more than their fair share of off-field drama this year. There were incidents involving alcohol across both, while certain clubs were in damage control over illicit drug use and even domestic violence.
But what a refreshing sight it was over the weekend to see the beverages put on hold, at least for a little while, after a couple of stunning grand final wins by Hawthorn and North Queensland.
Unless you're Jack Darling, of the West Coast, or Ben Hunt, of the Brisbane Broncos, the everlasting images from both premiership-deciders will be of victorious players embracing their children.
Hawthorn only reaffirmed its long-held status as the 'Family Club' on Saturday.
There was Hawk superstar Sam Mitchell and his three children, son Smith and twin daughters Emmerson and Scarlett, who accompanied dad up to the dais to collect his premiership medallion.
After three flags in three seasons as a Hawk, retiring fullback Brian Lake took the liberty of taking the Gatorade cart around for spin on the hallowed turf of the MCG with two of his three kids, Mylee and Cohen.
Then there was skipper Luke Hodge, whose second son Chase turned three on the day of the grand final and copped a big pinch of the cheeks by senior coach Alastair Clarkson.
And who could forget Jordan Lewis cradling baby Freddy, who was born just six days earlier, while teammate after teammate came over to give him a little tickle.
On Sunday, a jubilant North Queensland Cowboy Lachlan Coote had his little boy Bailey in his arms, soaking up the club's first ever premiership at ANZ Stadium.
The star of the show, Johnathan Thurston, meanwhile, was almost upstaged by daughter Frankie, who took an obvious shine to her dad's medal while wearing a Cowboys jersey.