The Little Team That Could

Once upon a time there were two football teams who often played each other in the local park down the road. Although one of the teams was a little bigger and more experienced, the younger team would always try to put up a good, honest fight - but would inevitably be walloped into the ground by the bigger team, who had a reputation as being a bit of a bully on occasions. (Big meanies!)

This apparent unevenness in playing abilities was not immediately obvious - in fact, the very first time that ?Little Team? were told they were allowed to play, they very nearly conjured up a miracle victory over ?Big Team?! But this seemed to upset Big Team very, very much - ?How dare they think they can play with us!!? they harrumphed. A plan was hatched, and a promise was made - Little Team would have to suffer for their bout of enthusiastic bravado! (Insert dramatic trumpet sound here.)

The cruel torture continued on for many more heart-wrenching seasons. Despite all their best efforts, Little Team were constantly handed hammering after hammering against Big Team - it became a soul-destroying regularity that was challenging for a spot among life?s certainties: Life, Death, Taxes, and Big Team would always win over Little Team. As much as Little Team tried their hearts out, they were sadly outclassed game after game ...

Just as everything seemed lost, and Little Team were very nearly on the verge of being banished from the local park, a strange new character rode in from the hills. His name was DanAndo, and while he was very careful not to get any hopes up, he was quietly confident in his unique blend of wizardry. Of course, Little Team were a bit sceptical. How could a virtual unknown from the depths of the far yonder town known as Pareth-Marta think he had the magical cure?

DanAndo began his task, and Little Team began to grow ? just a little. While they began by knocking off a couple of other Little Teams and the occasional Middle Team, they knew that Big Team was coming to visit very shortly. The very spectre of their upcoming match began to hover like a giant black cloud, filled with black jelly and covered with black fudge sauce.

But the increasingly hairier DanAndo had been furiously spinning his spells behind the scenes, filling Little Team with a level of commitment that had rarely been achieved before. He had done all he could, and the rest was up to his charges. Would Little Team be able to finally grow up??

The night approached, and 13,921 locals summoned the courage to brave the inevitability of a loss - little did they know that magic was in the air that night. And magic it certainly was as Little Team jumped out to a 10-0 lead early in the first half! But Big Team were in no mood to give up without a fight, and scores were soon locked up at 12-all. The script seemed set to continue, with Little Team given just that hint of a sniff before being cold-heartedly tossed aside to shiver in their own inadequacies once more.

But the miracle still had legs, and Little Team continued to tap into an amazing stream of determination and courage. With a surreal atmosphere perfectly complimenting the occasion, Little Team struck a field goal. 13-12! Yet still seven minutes to go ...

As the full-time hooter crept closer, the crowd started to realise that they were witnessing the impossible dream. Years and years of painful beatings were about to be forgotten as Little Team threw everything they had into defending the slimmest of winning margins. The local crowd squeezed out every drop of support they could muster as the seven minutes took seven years to count down.

Two minutes to go ...

Ninety seconds to go ...

One minute to go ...

Thirty seconds to go ...

Suddenly the crowd was overcome with a feeling of pure amazement and elation. The hooter began its final call, and a new team was born that very moment. A team that finally realised nothing was impossible - a team that would always keep the faith.

Warriors 13 (Fa?afili, Swann tries, Jones 2 goals, field goal) defeated Brisbane 12 (Parker, Berrigan tries, Devere 2 goals) at Ericsson Stadium, Saturday 24th March 2001.

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