Lawrence Thomas insists no ill feelings after horror Roy O'Donovan challenge
Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas says he holds no ill feeling towards Roy O'Donovan, revealing the man whose boot clattered into his jaw nearly became his flatmate eight years ago.
O'Donovan is set for a long A-League suspension after his high boot connected with Thomas' face late in Saturday night's Grand Final, earning the Newcastle Jets striker a straight red card.
Thomas was left bandaged and bruised but came away from the clash with not only a championship, but the Joe Marston medal as well.
He is the only the second goalkeeper to win the award, which has been presented to the best player on ground in A-League and National Soccer League deciders since 1990.
Thomas said O'Donovan -- who had his own battle scars after copping a stray elbow from Besart Berisha -- came up and apologised for his actions after the final whistle.
The pair have history -- O'Donovan signed for English club Coventry City in 2010 just as Thomas arrived for what proved an ultimately unsuccessful trial.
"Funnily enough it's a small football world," Thomas said.
"I had a trial at Coventry when I was 15 or 16 years old. He had just signed for the club and we went house hunting together.
"I know him from way back.
"He came to me after when I was signing signatures with the fans. He had big bruised eyes and my head got bigger than it already is but it's all good."
Thomas helped keep Victory in the game with three strong saves in the first half to deny Newcastle as they rallied for an equaliser, his quick reactions leaving the Jets deflated and in disbelief.
The 25-year-old has been terrific all season and unsurprisingly, his performances have attracted interest from abroad, with Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr linked to him this week.
But coach Kevin Muscat said there would be some "good news" about Thomas to emerge during the week, heavily hinting that he would be re-signed by the club.
"He had to stand tall. Lawrence has been getting better as the team's been getting better," Muscat said.
"Lawrence's heroics give confidence to the group."