by Greg Blake

Harry Noon joins the pantheon of Warrior all-time greats on Monday night at Kingston, when he chalks up 100 memorable games in the yellow and black. Yet, as impressive as the list of Heidelberg United centurions is, few can rival Noon’s uncanny ability to draw the spotlight and the headlines. ‘Bad Noon Rising’ is a textbook larger-than-life character.

Getting a sixth consecutive road win at Kingston is, of course, the main motivator for George Kataskis’ team, as they loom ever larger in league-leading Avondale’s rear view mirror. And, the Warriors will be hoping to avenge having their pants pulled down at The Grange last season, with the home side romping away to a 4-1 win. So, whilst Noon’s milestone may not be the main focus, a win would be a perfectly lovely celebration of the career of our favourite outlaw.

Be it niggling an opponent, scoring a remarkable goal, aggravating and baiting rival fans, providing a game-breaking moment of sheer footballing artistry, or taking on a now legendary corner flag, Noon is a natural attention grabber. A human headline augmented by his most cheeky and endearing grin, he is our own wild colonial boy, both in looks and in deed.

As Noon himself conceded in a 2018 interview, he is quite the enigma – in classic bushranging parlance, he is a rogue and a larrikin. Quite the gentleman and beloved by the Heidelberg United family, yet feared and loathed by outsiders and those not of the yellow and black persuasion.

“I definitely do (have a touch of ‘white line fever’)”, Noon admitted. “Me on the pitch, and me off the pitch are definitely two different people. But, like all of the boys, we want the three points, and we battle until we get them.”

And, just as Victoria Police vowed to take the ‘flashiness out of the Kellys’ some 150 years ago, Noon’s wild looks, on-field dash, daring and bravado has always attracted the attention of sometimes over-zealous match officials since his 2016 Heidelberg United debut. Cult figures often fall foul of the law.

It’s not that Noon backs away from being a rabble-rouser of the highest order. Indeed, always being up for a stoush and first in to fly the flag for his team mates is one of Noon’s endearing qualities and why fans adore him so. “It’s not something I shy away from”, he says of his confrontational style. “It all comes down to having my team mates’ backs 24/7, which all of us do.”

It’s a huge ask to stand out in this current generation Heidelberg United team – one which has made winning habitual, and where one plays alongside team mates of such pedigree – all game-breakers, champions and stars in their own right. But, he does, more often because his acumen as a player is somehow overridden by stories which better typify Noon’s place in our hearts. For me, it was during an on-field ‘push-and-shove’ a couple of seasons ago, when a supporter near the HUFC-TV broadcast team bellowed out: “Put the big bastard in his place, Harry!”

I hope you’ve got your things together

I hope you are quite prepared to die

Looks like we’re in for nasty weather

One eye is taken for an eye

Oh, don’t go around tonight

It’s bound to take your life

There’s a bad Noon on the rise

Big, bad Harry Noon is on the rise

(Inspired by original lyrics written by John Fogarty)