This is as picture perfect as it gets.
Alice Burke won the battle for bragging rights in her family on Friday night but even though things didn’t fall dad Nathan’s way, you couldn’t wipe the smile off his face.
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Nathan is an AFL legend who played 323 games for St Kilda, was a four-time All Australian and was selected in the club’s team of the century.
But his allegiances have shifted somewhat in retirement and in late 2019 he was appointed coach of the Western Bulldogs AFLW team.
Last night he coached against Alice, who made her AFLW debut as part of the Saints’ first ever father-daughter combination in the league.
Alice and her teammates outplayed Nathan’s troops to secure a tight 8.3 (51) to 6.6 (42) win over the Dogs at Moorabin as the competition kicked off this weekend.
But even though the result may have made things a little awkward on the car ride home, the scenes that followed after full-time melted footy lovers’ hearts.
Nathan and Alice, wearing smiles as wide as the Harbour Bridge, embraced each other, as dad patted his youngest daughter on the head after a job well done.
Fox Footy commentator Kelli Underwood said: “Look at that beautiful shot. This is what footy and sport’s all about.
“You can’t get the smiles off their faces. These are beautiful scenes.”
Carlton AFLW coach Daniel Harford added: “It’s not something you probably see in the men’s game — and I reckon there is some room for that too, to be honest with you.
“But it’s lovely to see that embrace of father and daughter. It is a special thing and we very rarely get this situation where someone will coach against their kid.
“It’s a lovely moment for Alice. She’s the winner here and for Nathan to see her so happy would fill him with enormous pride.”
The touching scenes were captured and shared on social media by gun AFL photographer Michael Wilson and fans were quick to react to the awesome sight of dad and daughter showing their love for each other, even when they endured very different fortunes.
Channel 7 AFL reporter Mark Stevens tweeted: “Great pic. It’s a skill mate! Long live the news snapper. Great areas.”
It may only be January — but footy has never been afraid of hyperbole or an early call — and popular footy podcast The Outer Sanctum labelled the image “photo of the year” and “moment of the year”.
Former sports presenter Jim Wilson said the photo was “wonderful”, ex-AFLW star and Australian hockey player Georgie Parker added “makes my heart melt” with crying and love heart emojis, while all the replies to the snap being posted on social media echoed the same sentiment.