One step onto McLaren Vale Oval and it was obvious local legend Mark Curtis was going home with the "mug".
The prestigious pewter stein for the club's players' player has symbolised the very essence of athletic performance and larrikin tomfoolery ever since the Eagles first introduced it more than 30 years ago.
Curtis, 36, playing in his 300th game, was always going to be the talk of the town when a few beers were cracked open later on Saturday night — but his performance on the field soon elevated his local legend status to the stuff of club folklore.
Having booted a record-haul of 10 goals in a thumping 22.11 (143) to 1.0 (6) win over Victor Harbour in the Great Southern Football League reserves — it is perhaps the cruellest stroke of luck that Curtis' achievements have been completely overshadowed by his wife Sarah's hilarious banner-writing.
Curtis admits he burst out laughing as he walked on to the field and prepared to run through the blue and red banner with 11-month old son Archie in his arms.
It read: "Congrats Curto. 300 games. 30 reports. 3 flags. 0 pre-seasons."
"Yeah, great. Thanks for highlighting that," Curtis says, with a giggle at his wife's rare talent as a banner designer.
"They had to mention something about me getting reported because I would have had this milestone many years ago if not for that.
"I've sort of just walked out of the club, grabbed my son and had a read of it — and I've just cracked up laughing.
"I knew there would be a banner, that's a tradition the club has always had. I didn't know what it was going to say. That was gold."
Sarah and the McLaren Football Club spent four days making the banner — and it was worth every second of preparation.
With the number of spectators limited because of Covid-19 restrictions, Curtis' big moment played out in front of hundreds of friends and family and a crowd of around 500 who turned up for the first round of the season — delayed because of coronavirus restrictions.
Spectators were treated to the Curtis show.
For a bloke who has played most of his footy career at fullback, Curtis was moved up front for his milestone game and nobody really noticed something special was playing out in front of their eyes, until he caught fire in the second quarter and kicked six goals.
Even with Victor Harbour flooding their backline in the second half, Curtis finished with 10.3 for the match.
"It was just a day out," Curtis says. "You get those days when the ball just bounces nicely for you. It was good fun."
He was carried off at full time on the shoulders of two "big young blokes" and was also given a second guard of honour for the day when the good sports at Victor Harbour joined in with the McLaren A-Grade players to cheer Curtis off the field.
Incredibly, Curtis has several other memories from his 20 seasons with the McLaren Football Club that rival his 300th game milestone.
Despite playing soccer until his final year of high school, Curtis has played in three premierships, six grand finals and countless inter-state end of season footy trips since debuting in the seniors team as a 17-year-old in 2001.
His team's 2019 premiership win over rivals Willunga is still top of the pile.
Growing up in the local area and going on to join the family's Curtis Family Vineyards business as a winemaker after studying the subject at university, Curtis has seen football change in the region over the last 20 years.
From a rough and tumble league where blokes "didn't give an inch", the Great Southern Football League has followed the trend of becoming more and more a game for the agile and aerobically-gifted players.
It is a change that has caused some headaches for Curtis — as you can tell from his 30 match day reports.
The club's strict fine system for players busted getting in trouble on the field means he's also had to shell out for more than a few cases of beer for his teammates over the years because every 50m penalty given away will cost you a slab.
One day Curtis gave away two fifties, got reported once and was suspended for four matches.
"I just ran through a few blokes and they don't really like that any more," Curtis says of the four-match ban.
"So I've sort of had to change my game over the years because I'd grown up with the very old style of oldschool footballers. Not like today when they're sort of running machines and athletic. Back then, they were more like brick s***houses and they didn't give an inch."
He doesn't need to thump blokes to get the job done.
His 10-goal haul on Saturday guaranteed him best on ground status and also guaranteed he'd be holding the "mug" later that night.
The cherished goblet is both a gift and a curse.
"We call it the mug. When I started, it's the same mug that we still use today," Curtis says of the cup which comes complete with the words "McLaren Vale Reserves" engraved on the side.
"It's been in the club since the 1980s. It's always sat in the club's trophy cabinet for special occasions.
"It's got so many dents and scratches. It looks like it was in a car crash. It almost looks like a mini-football with the top cut-off. Blokes have tried to scratch in their initials. You just look at it and go, 'What the hell is this thing'.
"It's something where, when you get it, it's never empty. You might be talking to someone and someone will walk past and fill it up. You might be drinking beer and then someone will just pour in whisky. You end up with a concoction that's like beer and blue cocktails."
Celebrating with him on Saturday night is good friend Stephen Kahl — who just happens to be the reason Curtis is still playing.
Curtis is just 14 games behind Kahl on the club's all-time record games list since the club's full amalgamation into the McLaren Football Club in 1998.
Both Kahl and Curtis refuse to retire while the other has a chance of finishing with the record.
"My wife sort of wants me to stop because I couldn't walk after a trial game two weeks ago," the man known as Curto says.
"I really want to catch him. We went to school together and even if we end up on the same number, that'd be great. He doesn't look like he's slowing down, so I have to keep going.
"It's a bit of a running joke because his wife has just had their third and I've only got one kid. His wife is telling him he has to retire because they've got three kids and it's crazy for them. He's always into my wife trying to get her to make me retire. He just wants to retire, but he won't stop until I stop and I won't stop until he does. So it's a bit of a running thing between us."
When he finally does stop, you can only assume it will be another day when "Curto" has the "mug" in his hands again.