Trib­utes flow for fiery Sylvia

The Advertiser - - NEWS - AARON LANGMAID

IT was a show­down against reign­ing pre­mier Hawthorn in 2009 when Colin Sylvia put his mark on the game.

Four freak­ish goals, 37 pos­ses­sions, three Brown­low Medal votes and the ado­ra­tion from Mel­bourne fans who, in this blond-haired, blue-eyed bloke from Mer­bein, found them­selves a cult hero.

Speak­ing to hun­dreds of peo­ple gath­ered for Sylvia’s fu­neral yes­ter­day, for­mer team­mate Brent Maloney said that was the mo­ment he also re­alised his mate was a star.

“I re­mem­ber how the crowd would rise when he launched his at­tack on the footy, burst from a pack and kick a goal from 60m,” Maloney said.

“He could turn a game on its head in 10 min­utes.”

Sylvia be­came a trail­blazer for the Dees and ul­ti­mately a mid­field tar­get for op­po­nents wary of his abil­ity to tear them.

“He was the most tal­ented player I had ever come across,” Maloney said. “He could do any­thing on the field – run, jump, sprint – you name it, Col could do it.”

Sylvia died last week af­ter a car crash in Mil­dura. It would have been his 33rd birth­day on Thurs­day.

His ex­ploits off the field dur­ing his 163-game ca­reer landed him in trou­ble with au­thor­i­ties but things were look­ing up af­ter he called time and headed home.

If Sylvia had found pur­pose on the footy field, his fam­ily were adamant he’d stum­bled on to a sense of peace com­ing back to where it all be­gan.

Af­ter 12 years fo­cus­ing on him­self, he was mak­ing up for lost time with his fam­ily.

AFL stars in­clud­ing David Neitz and Nathan Jones were among mourn­ers at the ser­vice, which show­cased Sylvia’s rise from the ranks of Mer­bein Foot­ball Club.

Pic­ture: JAY TOWN

FAREWELL: Colin Sylvia’s father Craig and Brent Moloney lead pall­bear­ers.

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