Dobson 'all smiles' waving farewell as partner makes pitchside proposal

Melbourne City’s Rhali Dobson was left in tears of joy after a rollercoaster retirement match ended in a pitchside proposal from her partner.

Dobson revealed to her teammates the day before City’s 2-1 triumph over Perth Glory that she was going to retire from football to spend time by the side of her now fiance, Matt Stonham, during his ongoing battle with brain cancer.

The 28-year-old rose to the occasion during her final outing in the Westfield W-League, scoring her 14th career goal in the 63rd minute to fire City into the lead, and Alex Chidiac added a second before Patricia Charalambous’ late consolation for Perth. 

Dobson cut an emotional figure when she waved farewell after being substituted in the 74th minute, and was jumping for joy for Chidiac’s goal, before holding her composure during a post-match interview with Fox Sports presenter Archie Thompson.

"I actually thought I was going to be a train wreck but I’m actually all smiles," Dobson said.

"We finished the season on a high, it was a great team performance.

"My family and my partner, he’s down so for me, it’s a nice way to finish my season and what better club to finish with than Melbourne City."

REPORT: Retiring Dobson bows out with emotional goal as City defeat Glory
FRIDAY NIGHT PREVIEW: Westfield W-League, A-League – March 26

Little did Dobson know, that her 109th Westfield W-League appearance would culminate in a marriage proposal from her partner Matt on the touchline of Frank Holohan Reserve.

Dobson had already explained she was finishing her career early for 'something bigger' and she paid tribute to her 'perfect' teammates after the final whistle.

"They’ve been phenomenal. The team only found out yesterday," she revealed.

"I’d kept things pretty quiet because I wanted them to stay focused on make sure we had a strong finish to the end of the season. As we know, it’s been very up and down.

"They knew Matt had surgery and everything so they’ve been amazing in terms of messaging us both and making sure that we knew that they are here for us. They’ve been perfect."

Rhali Dobson

Round 14

Canberra United v Sydney FC
Friday, 26 March 2021
Venue: Viking Park
Kick-off: 6.35pm AEDT
Match Centre

Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory
Sunday, 28 March 2021
Venue: Epping Stadium
Kick-off: 5.05pm AEDT
Match Centre

Brisbane Roar v Newcastle Jets
Sunday, 28 March 2021
Venue: Lions FC Stadium
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEDT
Match Centre

Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
Wednesday, 31 March 2021
Venue: Cromer Park
Kick-off: 6.35pm AEDT
Match Centre

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