No doubt every young footballer dreams of the situation and has rehearsed the scenario over and over.
The siren has sounded, you need a goal to win and the ball is in your hands.
For Ash Froud, Mulwala’s full forward, this was his reality on Saturday afternoon as he looked to deliver Mulwala the most unlikely of victories.
The game had seemed done at the fifteen minute mark of the last quarter when Mulwala were reduced to 17 men and still trailed by 20 points.
What unfolded in those last fifteen minutes will become folklore at Mulwala and led to Froud’s moment.
A thrilling comeback win against the might of an undefeated Nathalia or an agonizing four point loss; it was entirely up to him.
“He’s kicked it” rang out, as Mulwala’s faithful poured onto the field and the players mobbed Froud at centre half forward.
In scenes rarely seen at Lonsdale Reserve, more than one hundred supporters packed into the change rooms and helped belt out the club song.
For Froud, the hero, this was one of his finest moments in what has been a remarkable career through 16 years of senior football.
In an enthralling contest Mulwala had remained in the hunt thanks to a contribution from each and every player.
Playing in his last game of the season before an overseas trip, full back James Wilson had once again been stoic.
Giving away at least 8 inches in height, his physical strength and hunger for the contest had time and again thwarted Nathalia’s attack.
With Nathan Cook injuring a hand early in the game, the backline had stood tall with Angus Shand, Dylan Robinson and Damien Cook all influential in the result.
Sean Johns, playing in his first game for the season, led the way in the midfield hitting the stoppages at pace and dancing through defenders, his deft footwork and composure was a stand out.
Alongside him in the centre was the work horse in Ross Anasaldi. His ability to win his own ball or find it on the outside was exceptional, as was his connection with ruckman Hamish Hosking.
The man giant played a powerful game and would have led Mulwala in clearances such was his dominance in the ruck.
The evergreen Nathan Parker had been the perfect foil for Froud up forward.
With more than 12 marks for the game his ability to compete was as strong as ever as he presented deep or through centre half forward.
No doubt the winning goal, and Froud’s 6th, was his best moment but he had caused headaches all game and been a star at full forward.
Many times in recent years this write up has focused on the heroics of Sean Robinson and, although on this occasion he had to share that role, his last quarter 50 metre goal from the boundary was certainly the beginning of the great comeback.
The scene for one of Mulwala’s greatest wins had been set when Kyle Archibald was yellow carded half way through the last term, somehow singled out from a melee involving 20 players.
The mountain seemed too steep, more than three goals down and Nathalia now comfortable with a spare player to sit in front of Froud.
Mulwala had two choices, surrender and be proud of a good effort or find something special and create a moment to savour.
Those choices were made by the leaders, with every player falling in line to deliver 15 minutes of ferocious football.
Hosking grew taller in the ruck and clunked a mark at the top of the goal square with three Nathalia players hanging from his shoulders.
Youngster Cody Howard’s smother led to another goal and Sean Robinson found a way to extract the ball from a pile of bodies and screw it forward on his right to find Froud with only seconds left on the clock.
The younger players in Harry Crossley, Adam Rouel and Dale Powell all had their moments as a team, playing with spirit, simply found a way to win.
Ultimately though it was Froud who read the moment like a book.
Playing in front, he marked Robinson’s tumbling clearance and walked to the top of his mark, with ice in his veins he paused at the sound of the siren before casually strolling in and kicking it straight over the goal umpire’s hat to win the game.
The win, although celebrated with gusto, was also put into perspective by Coach Michael Tout, “all this does is make us believe we are good enough to contend, there is still plenty of work to do”.
Lessons must be also learnt from the dignity and integrity of the Nathalia Football Club who were graceful in defeat.
Sitting third on the Murray League ladder, Mulwala now face the long road trip to Deniliquin this Saturday before another huge challenge hosting Barooga at home the week after.
Mulwala recorded their second win on the trot with a comfortable 28 point victory over Nathalia.
With almost a full complement of players Mulwala started well with Chris McNamara in everything early and Jayke Nicholson kicking a beautiful set shot from near the boundary.
Dominance around the ground however did not translate on the scoreboard with several missed opportunities keeping the game tight at the first change.
Mulwala started the second term full of running and goals to Bailey Scott and Jarryd Wood kicked Mulwala out to a five goal lead.
Lachy Orr was brilliant on half back, well supported by Charlie Magro who was also forced to pinch hit in the ruck.
The run of Kane Fisher was brilliant and his courage on the half back line led to an easy goal to Dylan McNamara after Jayke Nichnolson bounced his way through the centre.
Two late goals to Nathalia however, meant the game was still on at half time.
The third quarter was a classic arm wrestle with both teams failing to kick a goal.
Mulwala’s midfield was working hard and the composure of Jason Sanderson was telling.
Ruban Butts was also in fine form and was at the bottom of every pack.
Down back Lachie Wood was on fire and playing in front was able to repel every Nathalia attacking move. His marking and run off half back could see him get a senior game in his own right and not just as a sub.
Corey Lindsey has become a regular in the reserves and is no doubt the most improved player at the club. He showed on Saturday just what perseverance and determination looks like, putting his body on the line in the process.
With only three goals separating the teams at the last change it was still anyone’s game.
When Chris O’Neill trudged off after being stung by a bee on the elbow, Mulwala looked for someone to stand up.
Enter Jarryd Wood. The strongest man in the team went into beast mode and kicked a great goal before Ruben Butts and Bailey Scott sealed the game, with a goal apiece.
Mulwala Thirds won their second close one in as many weeks with an eight point win over Nathalia.
Spearhead Beau Nixon was awesome at full forward and kicked four goals for the game.
Robert Wilson was everywhere and his left foot was a weapon through the midfield.
Young Zach Scott showed all the moves with some brilliant stuff on the wing yet also put his body on the line in some courageous acts.
Dylan Leadingham was a machine in the centre and his second and third efforts provided genuine leadership.
Cam Harris showed a clean set of heels to kick a great goal off the ground.
Play of the day went to Cooper Chung however, as his bursting run through the middle, deep into the last quarter was the game winning moment.
Mulwala Fourths lost a hard fought game, going down by 23 points to Nathalia.
Mulwala was certainly in the game and had some great moments particularly when Jack Tout capped a great team goal with a set shot from 30 metres out during the second quarter.
Jack finished with three goals with Zach Wheeler kicking the other.
Josh Eder was outstanding in the backline alongside Connor Phibbs while Flynn Fletcher battled hard in the ruck.
Mulwala 2.3, 2.5, 6.7, 12.12 (84)
Nathalia 2.4, 5.8, 9.10, 12.10 (82)
GOALS, Mulwala :
Ashley Froud 6, Nathan Parker 2, Hamish Hosking 1, Beau Clarke 1, Sean Robinson 1, Joshua Hammond 1
Brodie Ross 5, Bailey Bell 3, Matt Davies 2, Alex Hicks 2
BEST, Mulwala :
Sean Robinson, Cameron Carling, Nathan Parker, Ross Ansaldi, Ashley Froud
Ned Nihill, Bailey Bell, Matt Davies, Jason Limbrick, Brodie Ross, Tom Nihill