One hand on the trophy

Imagine bustling into work on a Monday morning to celebrate a massive Lotto syndicate windfall with colleagues, only to learn that old Billy from accounts forgot to put the numbers on for that weekend. Deflated and gut-punched, the genuinely shell-shocked Avondale boys took on a similar demeanour at the final whistle late last Saturday afternoon.

As the new reality of their title hopes washed over the former runaway league leaders, Avondale players stood about with that ashen-faced, disbelieving, deer-in-the-headlights type stunned silence. Victims of yet another audacious Heidelberg United heist. Astonishing, not so much, given the unnerving frequency of these unlikely-to-wonderful Warrior wins.

Heidelberg’s latest late show appearance at Avondale last weekend was another for the ages, another triumph deserved of exhausting the list of available superlatives. You would think it almost impossible to be blind-sided by yet another jaw-dropping, show-stopping ‘Cardiac Kids’ finale, especially so fresh off a wild junk time win at Shark Park just a couple of weeks back. But nup, a Seanie Ellis at-the-death winner for 3-2 again managed to steal our collective breath and evoke combinations of tears, fist pumps and a chorus of “yeeeeeeessssss” right across the expanding Warrior nation.

Sean Ellis goal in the closing seconds of the game

As a footy fan you’d be chuffed to enjoy one or two of those per season. As a Warrior fan, these heart starters are now as much the rule as they are the exception. Almost iteration, except they take such a wide variety of routes into the win column. And there is no blueprint to map these audacious hit-and-run raids. You can’t train for it. It’s one of sports’ delicious intangibles, this unquenchable desire. No excuses, just refuse to lose. We are blessed with this once-in-a-lifetime team.

I noticed something on Saturday, or maybe I hadn’t looked hard enough. Steven Pace and Adrian Zahra – both silk, both champions, both experienced and pedigreed. Off the field, delightful people -quiet, intelligent, their manners decorous and praiseworthy. On Saturday Zahra was a seething, savage beast, ready to go face to face with the entire Avondale bench as he subbed out. Pace had checked out earlier with injury and I watched him sit steely-eyed on the bench, focused and still very much a part of the contest, still simmering.

There were brave, bold, tough, selfless and courageous acts everywhere at Avenger Park on Saturday, as Heidelberg players once again ramped it up with the stakes at their highest. It was harrowing. It was uplifting. I love everything about this team. Every Heidelberg fan across the Warrior Nation has been gifted a wondrous time, a remarkable team and an era of unprecedented success.

The blokes in this current team delight and play with verve and joy, always. But there is a dangerous and edgy aggression and determination in this group as well – a rage, a hunger. There’s always a bigger dog. But the Warriors know that, after three years of seeing off challenges from every damned dog in the neighbourhood. Some have boasted being tougher or fitter or younger, but let the gnarled and scarred junkyard dog off the leash and look out. The Warriors show no fear and will scrap to the death.

Full Match Highlights

And I know nothing, nor have I heard anything, but I just get the feeling that this most amazing era may be drawing to an end of sorts. Given such an abundance of success in recent seasons, there’s an unexpected sense of purpose and focus is washing over the boys going into the business end of the 2019 campaign. One last dance, as it were. Go out on our terms. Go out great. Go out legends.
And, so one more big party to attend this coming Sunday, and hosts South Melbourne would dearly love to crash it. Hellas’ season went off the rails some time ago, but giving us a whack this weekend would be rich and welcome consolation for them.

If you bleed yellow and black, you owe these boys plenty. How about we show our thanks and our support by turning out in alarming numbers to Lakeside Stadium this Sunday? And how about we make an alarming amount of noise and help cheer our mighty Heidelberg United Alexander to a third consecutive Premiers Plate? Raise your voices and be part of history.
Game on. Gotta love it. Warrior Nation!!

watch the game live this Sunday