Tributes flow for fiery Sylvia
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.
FAREWELL: Colin Sylvia’s father Craig and Brent Moloney lead pallbearers.