‘I just wanted to move on and celebrate’: Thomas reflects on THAT Grand Final incident
With his head wrapped in bandages and blood stains on his face, Lawrence Thomas looked more like a wounded soldier from an old wartime movie than a professional footballer.
But that was the scene come the end of last season’s Hyundai A-League Grand Final after he copped a boot to the head from Newcastle Jets striker Roy O’Donovan.
It was a brutal end to what was an otherwise memorable night for the goalkeeper, putting on a masterclass to help Melbourne Victory to a 1-0 win and fourth Hyundai A-League title.
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Given the severity of the incident – O’Donovan went on to receive a 10-game ban – you wouldn’t have blamed Thomas for holding resentment towards the Irishman.
But that simply isn’t in the 26-year-old’s DNA.
As soon as the full-time whistle blew and Victory were Champions, Thomas had already moved on.
“I knew him [O’Donovan] from a long time ago, it’s funny how it works,” Thomas recalls to www.a-league.com.au.
“I was trialling in Coventry as a young boy, staying in a hotel and Roy had just signed and we spent a lot of time together.
“I didn’t look at [the incident] too much. He came to me after the game and said ‘I had all eyes for the ball’ and just apologised.
“For me, he could have said anything and I would have been happy because we had just won the grand final and I was man-of-the-match so it was done and dusted.
“I just wanted to move on and celebrate.”
‘He’s why I play with no fear’
While he may be starring for Melbourne’s most successful club, Thomas was born in Sydney and came through the NPL at clubs like Marconi Stallions and Blacktown City, as well as going through the Australian Institute of Sport.
With four brothers who all played football, he was always around the game, with his desire to be “unique” seeing him end up with the gloves.
But when it comes to the biggest influences in his career, Thomas has no doubts.
“Both of my parents are very supportive. My dad used to play in goals up in Queensland at a state level,” he said.
“Growing up he [dad] always supported me, even not necessarily through football.
“He just said ‘If it’s in your heart and what you want to do, just follow it as much as you can and go for it 100%’.
“I know he’s always watching, he’s my biggest hero, he’s why I play with no fear.”
Hear more from Thomas’ EXCLUSIVE chat with www.a-league.com.au in the video player above.