Terrace Views by Christina Trajceska
Saturday night, another night of football and it went a little like this…
In the car we sit, stuck in typical Sydney traffic, ended up missing the turn to Moore Park Road. Then taking a turn onto Oxford Street, doing a U- turn on Oxford, almost getting killed mid U-turn, finding parking and then bolting it to Allianz stadium for the semi finals.
Walking in, we’re already deafened by the famous ‘We are Sydney’ being chanted loud and clear by The Cove in bay 23, as we joined the Victory at the other end. I must admit, I was more excited than my brother, and he’s the Victory fan. Already happily skipping to the Terrace while he was still walking down the steps of Bay 7.
We stood with a rowdy bunch of passionate Victorians, both of us saying we picked great seats, thinking it wasn’t going to rain. (It rained). All was well until the 24th minute though… 1 – 0… It was an OWN GOAL. The Cove – went – MENTAL. But have no fear, because on the 31st minute, Kosta Barbarouses smacks one in. In the excitement, one bloke knocks my brother over and like a domino effect; he falls on top of me. Yes, my 6ft 3 brother, has fallen onto of his 5ft 2 sister.
It’s now levelled again! 1 – 1! And soon the Victory silenced the Sky blue again, with a further damaging goal by James Troisi. 47 minutes in, 2 -1 and things are right as rain.
Time passes and the tide begins to turn as Sydney FC pull a handful of threatening attacks on the Victory defence, causing both home and away to their feet, but goals do not come for Sydney because the Great Wall of Melbourne won’t allow it. The guardian of the Victory goals, Lawrence Thomas!
Victory are up 2 – 1 with 5 minutes of injury time. Soon the 94th minute creeps in, every single person in navy blue scatters to the front of the fence line, my brother included. Whipping out my phone, trying to control my hands, as they shake with excitement, ready to hit record.
We wait, shouting at the referee to blow the whistle as the ball is scattered around the box, with a save from Thomas, and a handful of deflections.
With 15 seconds to go, Terry Antonis clears the ball… in the wrong direction.
And then anguish.
The city of Sydney erupts into a deafening frenzy that is so intimidating, silence falls over Bay 4 as we watch the pure ecstasy on the other side. My brother turns to look at me as I shut off the camera, it is now 2 – 2. The look on his face, I see the same pain I felt the night the Wanderers lost to Adelaide in the 2016 Grand Final, I see the same tears forming he shed last season when Ninkovic scored in the Grand Final penalty shoot out.
The whistle blows for real time, 30 minutes to decide it and there is only one thing that goes through my head…“Not again Lord, don’t do this to him again”
But if there is one thing I can say about the Victory, it is that they don’t give up. We had just conceded another own goal, yet the crowd starts up immediately. “Come on Melbourne” being chanted repeatedly, getting louder and louder. It’s not over yet.
The whistle blows with 30 minutes on the clock. We stand against the fence line, on seats, all shoulder to shoulder. The first 15 minutes, I can’t even remember the half of it, but the second 15 minutes are the minutes we all will remember for a very long time.
As time runs out, and we all spot Terry Antonis as he runs up the side of the field, all on his own.
Terry Antonis has left Ninkovic and Warland in the dust! TERRY ANTONIS IS CLOSING IN ON THE GOALS! TERRY ANTONIS LOADS UP THE KICK!
And time stood still, Redmayne leaps in the wrong direction, the ball passes over him, but still no one moves until we see that ball hit the back of the net and see that satisfying ripple of netting that sways from the impact, because what if we celebrate too soon and it doesn’t go in?
But it does.
The bay clashes against the fence as Antonis jumps up to meet us, my brother joining them. Grown men cry, my brother hugging people he’s never met before in his life, I jump on the seats hoping to God they don’t break while watching out for my brother.
Returning to my phone, I select ‘LIVE’ on Instagram and record every moment left of this game, the feed reaching followers from far and near, on home soil and internationally. The rain begins to pour around us, not a single care about the chances of developing pneumonia in the days to come. We’re all shouting for the whistle, a few more life saving clearances by the Victory, and then the last whistle blows.
History has been made.
Fast forward to the rest of the night, my brother and I make our way across the bays to the player’s benches. Shot stopper and kind-hearted keeper, Lawrence Thomas running over to my brother for a picture.
We leave Allianz; leave the North Terrace as they crash the coverage by Fox Sports, chanting away. We reunite with our Dad as we make our way through the streets of East Sydney on our way home with a smile on our faces.
Football is so much more than just a 90-minute game; it was 120 according to tonight but let’s think deeper for a second. The emotions that come with it, the atmosphere, and bonds you make with fans and players as well as the glory and downfalls that come with it all. It is something no man or woman who follows this game will ever be able to explain. You can attempt to find the right words but it will never do it justice.
If I could describe the feeling, it was like the pure joy of seeing your younger brother with a smile and tears in his eyes as he embraces fellow supporters in pouring rain after a rollercoaster 120 minutes. The moment reminds you of when YOU fell in love with the game and why you fell in love with it…and how tonight has made you fall in love with it all over again.
A wise man once said,
“Football is about many things, but most of all it is about JOY”
– Les Murray
He was right.