In an industry that is so much about the ‘now’ Chris Fagan understands that sometimes it’s not. And on Saturday he showed exactly why when he joined Jack Gunston in a special tribute to a friend and father before both walked off the Gabba with just the outcome they wanted.

And a giant leap for Gunston up the all-time AFL goal-kicking list, past 11 players including a host of all-time greats.

It was the week of the first anniversary of the passing of Ray Gunston, a hugely respected and admired AFL administrator and father of the three-time Hawthorn premiership player in his first season in Brisbane.

The pair were as close as father/son pairs get and Fagan understood the importance of the occasion to Gunston, who had been out of the Lions side for a month after an indifferent start to his career.

Encouraged by some excellent recent training form from a man who this year followed ex-Hawthorn teammates Luke Hodge and Grant Birchall to Brisbane to play, Fagan took a punt at selection and recalled the 31-year-old utility forward for Saturday’s Gabba clash with West Coast.

Without any fuss or fanfare, Fagan and Gunston wore black arm bands as a mark of respect for Ray Gunston, who died on 4 July last year after a heart attack.

The shared tribute was only revealed by Fagan in his media confidence after Gunston, in his 237th AFL game and his 12th in Brisbane colours, kicked an equal career-best six goals in the Lions’ 81-point win.

Gunston, interviewed by the TV cameras on the ground after the final siren, chose not to mention his father and spoke first of “a good term performance”.

He took ownership of his early season form – “I wasn’t playing at a level I expect of myself” – but offered an encouraging message that he was starting to feel a good connection within a side in which he plays as the third tall forward beside the unpredictable pair of Joe Daniher and Eric Hipwood.

Fagan spoke of the special friendship between Gunston and his father, a long-time member of the AFL executive, and emotions of the game . He was delighted to see Gunston “get some enjoyment and some confidence out of kicking a few goals”.

“I think you saw a bit more of what Jack is capable of. He moved a whole lot better. He got up the ground and got involved in the offence, which showed the training block had been good for his legs.

“He’d been trapped in the vicious cycle of play, recover and not really train too much. That’s why I thought it was a good idea to give him four weeks on the track. He’s a good athlete and today I think he felt like the old athletic Jack is back.

“We’re not going to shout it from the rooftops or get too excited but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. A good outcome.”

It was the fourth time Gunston had kicked six goals after he did so for Hawthorn in 2014-15-19, and saw him go from equal 89th to 80th on the all-time AFL goal-kicking list.

Having gone into the game level with Geelong’s Billy Brownless and West Coast’s Mark LeCras (441), Gunston left them behind and went past Fitzroy’s Alan Ruthven and Jimmy Freake (442), Essendon’s Dick Reynolds (442), Richmond’s Jack Dyer (443), North Melbourne’s Malcolm Blight (444) and Drew Petrie (444), Carlton’s Alex Jesaulenko (444) and Robert Walls (444) and Geelong/Gold Coast’s Gary Ablett Jnr (445).

It's an extraordinary collection of talent, littered with AFL Hall of Fame legends, members and future members, AFL Team of the Century members, Brownlow Medallists, AFL club Hall of Fame legends and members, club Team of the Century members. And more.

But it wasn’t all about the goals. Gunston also had 20 possessions for the first time since 2019, a career-best 15 score involvements, eight scoring shots and three contested marks.

That after his first 11 games for the Lions reaped a total of 107 possessions, 11 goals, 20 scoring shots, 47 score involvements and eight contested marks. Or averages of 9.7 possessions, 1.6 goals, 1.8 scoring shots, 4.3 score involvements and 0.7 contested marks.

The 81-point win, the second in a row by the same margin, was Brisbane’s third-biggest in 53 games against West Coast and the biggest since 2000. And the West Coast score of 5-5 (35) was their second-lowest against Brisbane behind only their 4-6 (30) at the Gabba last year.