Devastating diagnosis behind beautiful marriage proposal in W-League

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Rhali Dobson's partner, pictured here proposing after her final match in the W-League.
Rhali Dobson's partner proposed after her final match in the W-League. Image: Getty

Rhali Dobson broke down in tears on Thursday night as the final game of her W-League career was capped off by a marriage proposal from partner Matt Stonham.

At age 28, Dobson had told her Melbourne City teammates on the eve of the match that she was going to retire to spend time helping Stonham during his battle with brain cancer.

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And not only did the former Matilda score a goal as her side earned a 2-1 win over Perth Glory, Dobson received - and said "yes" to - a marriage proposal.

As Dobson ran to celebrate with her family by the side of the pitch at full-time, Stonham got down on one knee and proposed.

Dobson broke down in tears before the pair were both then mobbed by her Melbourne teammates.

She had proposed to him twice in recent weeks, only for him to laugh off the idea.

"This is bigger than the sport. He is my absolute world," said Dobson after accepting the proposal.

"I'd kept things pretty quiet (with the team) because I wanted them to stay focused on making 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."

The beautiful scenes went viral around the world.

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Matt Stonham's devastating battle with brain cancer

Stonham was diagnosed with cancer six years ago, after having a seizure while playing football.

He had surgery for a second time earlier this month and will have aggressive radiotherapy, before 12 months of chemotherapy.

"Five days after his brain surgery he kicked my backside back down here to Melbourne, told me that I had to finish out the season, that I've got unfinished business and it was still normal as always," Dobson told ESPN earlier in the week.

Matt Stonham, pictured here proposing to Rhali Dobson.
Matt Stonham proposes to Rhali Dobson after Melbourne City's win over Perth Glory. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

"Then we got the news two days after I got back down here to Melbourne that the part that they took out - which they got all of, which is fantastic - had transitioned to a grade three brain tumour.

"So, he now starts aggressive radiotherapy until the end of May and then he'll start aggressive chemotherapy for 12 months.

"We've caught things exceptionally early, he's on the very positive end of the scale because of his age."

with AAP

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