It is a cold Thursday morning, looking to finish the short week strong. I open my Twitter app; the morning routine is on. It’s a post from Melbourne City – who I am keen to see on Sunday. Unfortunately, the Australian Professional Leagues made a decision that went the other way.
City, the fans, the league was rightly fuming; unsure what was going to happen. Our squad slashed; injuries, quarantine. It was looking quite saddened. Step up the heroes, a screening organised by the club. “Get your drink on while watching us make the Grand Final, all in a booked-out pub”.
Forgive the poem; I’m feeling a bit sentimental. A normal write-up doesn’t rhyme – but that game, that semi-final was a statement for who we are as a club. Anyone. Anywhere. Anytime. It all started with a drive to Thornbury, some of the lucky ones flew up. Others went to the pub, ready for a free beer to fill our cups.
It was a scary start to the match with the Bulls looking ready to play, of course they practically had a home final – pretty much thrown their way. It was a lacking pass midfielder O’Neill, which dispatched a streaking flyer, but M’Mombwa’s shot was met by quality of much higher. Nuno Reis, coming out of nowhere, saving the day. Safe to say he’s earned his years pay.
Minutes later it was ex-City Franjic hitting the crossbar. The shot was massive, it wasn’t too far. Despite the possession, we were lacking decent chances, that was until young Atkinson skipped past as he prances. Moving the ball on his right, then his left! Milligan blocks the shot – a clearance that was deft.
It is half time. It is tense. I think I need a drink. I don’t want to know what will happen in the second half, barely want to think. I get back to my seat, scarf covering my face – what if we don’t win? What if Macarthur win the race? The second half starts, Fox Sports are interviewing the coach. Little did he know that his boys were in the moo-d to poach.
Little skip at his feet – Tilio is on his way – the Sydney born winger whips in a cross that made the Bulls pay. COLAKOVSKI, IT IS IN! The kids are mean! Tearing apart the defence like that is perfect for the team. A minute goes by, the attack vice versa this time, over the top, Colakovski; puts it on a dime. It seems to go in slow motion, with the match staring him in the face, but Tilio slides it past the advancing keeper – putting him in his place.
The pub erupts – it is two in two. Drinks are flying everywhere, I guess it was due. The final 30 minutes are purely business, other than a cheeky choke which yielded a simple yellow – VAR was no use, the game was over, but the vibe was hardly mellow. Ecstasy erupted, drinks flew with their lime – we’re into the Grand Final. Anyone. Anywhere. Anytime.
Now to the APL and government, they have a decision to make.
Will we have our home Grand Final?
Will it be ours to take?