As Leigh Broxham lay prone on the turf, distraught at the own goal he’d just conceded, it seemed to dawn on Victory fans that the jig was up.
The mulleted marauder stormed up and down the touchline all evening, tormenting a Victory side without the defensive width to track his runs.
Albeit offside, his presence in the Victory box for the third goal was a clear demonstration of what makes him unique – a seemingly endless appetite and bottomless stamina to get forward at every available opportunity.
That he was withdrawn by Steve Corica with the game wrapped up only underlined his importance to the Sky Blues. You can see him, you know what’s coming, but sometimes you simply can’t keep up.
Adam Le Fondre
Yes, he scored twice, but the goals were in some ways the least important part of his contribution.
Le Fondre’s defensive positioning made it nigh on impossible for the Melburnians to find gaps in the centre and feed the creative midfielders.
He cannily picked his moments to press and harass Baena and the centre backs, forcing fast break after fast break as the game became stretched.
Alfie is known as a pure goal-poacher, but out of possession he actually provides so much more.
The Serbian maestro may not win another Johnny Warren medal on Monday – but if there was an award for efficiency, he’d be miles ahead of the pack.
Every pass, sprint, tackle, and dribble seemed precisely and devastatingly considered – as if the Terminator-style CPU inside his head had calculated the simplest route to annihilation of his opponent.
His goal was almost garish – an unnecessary extravagance once the target had already been well and truly obliterated.