Sport rarely gives its champions fairy tales finishes. Rhali Dobson got more than she could have ever dreamt of.
After scoring the opener during Melbourne City’s 2-1 victory over Perth Glory, Dobson — who announced that Thursday night’s season finale would be her last — ran to the edge of the pitch to celebrate with friends and family.
It was then that she ran to the corner. Not to smash the corner flag à la Tim Cahill style, but to see her partner Matt.
What happened next she would never have imagined, as Matt dropped the knee and asked his retiring partner to marry him.
Naturally, she said ‘yes’ given that she had recently revealed she had asked Matt to marry him twice.
Dobson was seen crying, as she turned and was mobbed by her teammates. Only a season earlier they were mobbing each other for another reason, as City claimed their fourth title.
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The 28-year-old, who played for the Matidas once in 2014, is retiring to support her now fiancé as he prepares for radiotherapy to fight brain cancer.
“Matt and I are very open about everything. He was diagnosed with brain cancer six years ago after a seizure on the soccer field when he was playing,” Dobson told ESPN.
“He had brain surgery and that was successful and then he elected to stay on just having reviews with oncology after everything went so well the first time. Purely to help out from a research perspective, he’s really good that way.
“He was having a checkup and they noticed a bit more activity in a very small area [of his brain] back in February…Then we got the news two days after I got back down here to Melbourne that the part that they took out — which they got all of, which is fantastic — had transitioned to a grade III brain tumour.
“So, he now starts aggressive radiotherapy until the end of May and then he’ll start aggressive chemotherapy for 12 months.
“We’ve caught things exceptionally early, he’s on the very positive end of the scale because of his age. He had no other signs or symptoms, it was for him a routine check-up.
“This is bigger than the sport. He is my absolute world.”
On Thursday we witnessed one fairy tale, as tears of happiness ran down faces at Frank Holohan Reserve.
Let’s hope for another one.