The pressure of steel making is intense. Forces combine under extraordinary pressure.
Iron, combined with steel and liquefied at temperatures over 1600 degrees celsius.
As you stand next to the fire and flames at BlueScope's Port Kembla steelworks, the process is equal parts terrifying and mesmerizing.
What you get a sense of most is the sheer ferocity of the process. The forces that need to come together under intense stress to create the finished product.
If there was a human comparison, surely coaching elite level sport would be a fair comparison. Brian Goorjian knows pressure.
This is a man who has been at the top of his profession, coaching basketball, for decades internationally and in Australia no-one has done it better. No-one.
Six National Basketball League titles no less.
Yet here he is, the man they simply call the GOAT, the Greatest of All-Time.
In Wollongong about to coach the league's oldest, but arguably most embattled, franchise which is coming off yet another near-death experience to take on the best the National Basketball League can throw at them.
With the backdrop of the league stripping the region's name "Illawarra" from the franchise, which has angered many locals, Goorjian now puts his hard-earned reputation on the line with a rebuilt team and a rebuilt club starting almost from scratch. That's pressure.
This week the Illawarra Mercury arranged to take Goorjian and his close friend, Hawks new co-owner and president Dorry Kordahi, on a tour of the steelworks.
We figured it would give Wollongong's newest resident in Goorjian and Kordahi, who is a prominent Sydney businessman, a taste of the history of Wollongong and some understanding of the blue-collar, hard-edged nature that forged much of this region.
It's a warm, windy Wednesday afternoon when Goorjian and Kordahi arrive at the Bluescope Visitor Centre in the latter's white Bentley.
They suit up in the required protective clothing and go through the COVID protocols with the BlueScope team who will guide them on their journey into Australia's largest manufacturing site.
Normally BlueScope would have hosted thousands of visitors into the facility on their popular public tours but due to the pandemic the site is in stringent COVID lockdown.
As they sit on the mini bus and journey into the facility, the scale of the steelworks hits home.
"You wouldn't know all this was here would you," Goorjian remarks.
BlueScope's communications and community manager Craig Nealon, a 42-year veteran of the steelworks, acts as tour guide, diligently explaining the various parts of the plant and the steelmaking process on the journey.
As Kordahi steps out of the bus before entering the BOS facility where they will get a close-up view of molten steel being forged, Kordahi notes: "it's quite cool here isn't it?". That's about to change, he's warned.
As they are taken through onto the floor of the BOS facility, right in front of the iconic position where Jimmy Barnes filmed Working Class Man, they are greeted by Kamini Wijekulasuriya who is the BOS furnace operations manager at BlueScope who immediately wants to talk basketball.
The 3000 people that work at the steelworks would make up a significant portion of the club's loyal following. These are Goorjian's people.
"This is the Steel City right?," Goorjian says at one point, referencing the moniker on the club's jersey for city round last season worn famously of course by potential NBA No. 1 draft pick Lamelo Ball.
If Goorjian is planning to bring his trademark version of physical basketball to the Hawks then the blue-collar roots of this region and the steelworks will love him for it.
Resting back at the steelworks' visitor centre after the tour, both described it as "amazing".
"The sheer size of it, you don't realise how big the plant is and how integral BlueScope is to the community," Kordahi said.
"You always knew as an opponent coming down here it was always the steel city, the tough opponent, the working class and this is where it stems from," Goorjian adds. "This is the heartland for it."
A steely defence will form the basis of the Goorjian-led Hawks.
"It's the defence, the tough play, the next possession, getting on the floor .... that aspect of the game is how you win a championship," Goorjian said.
The DNA of the Hawks is the Illawarra region and we won't lose that, that's importantDorry Kordahi
The Goorjian-Kordahi friendship was founded a long time ago. Like the steelmaking process it was forged at a time of great pressure and stress.
Goorjian credits Kordahi for helping him through one of the most tumultuous times in his career when the 31-year-old Kordahi bought a part stake in the Goorjian-coached Sydney Kings in 2007 from then owner and eventually failed Firepower tycoon Tim Johnston.
Goorjian quit the club in March 2008 and not long after the NBL terminated the license of the club as the Firepower flame fizzled out.
That experience brought Goorjian and Kordahi close together and the two pledged should Kordahi ever get his own side, Goorjian would return to coach.
That dream became a reality when the ownership of the Illawarra Hawks under Simon Stratford collapsed earlier this year with the NBL's foundation club being placed in the hands of receivers.
Kordahi forms part of a new ownership which has significant American backing from the former general manager of the Philidelphia 76ers Bryan Colangelo and American businessman Michael Proctor. In many ways, Goorjian and Kordahi are a package deal.
"The funny thing was, a year ago, this is not made up ... a year ago it was myself, Goorjian and Amanda (Goorjian's wife) and we were sitting at Coogee Bay," Kordahi remembers.
"We were having dinner and I jokingly said to Goorj 'you know what, I'm gonna buy the Hawks and you're gonna coach' and he jokingly said 'I'm in'.
"Literally, there was no discussion about the Hawks (being in trouble) at that time, I was just joking.
"The day the press release came out of us announcing Goorj, a Facebook photo popped up one year ago of that dinner at Coogee."
Goorjian had always appreciated the support he got from Kordahi during the infamous Firepower collapse in his time with the Kings.
"He was great during that time and that's when we got close," Goorjian said.
"I was walking out, I said I'm done and I was in the car in the car park and Dorry taps me on the shoulder and says some day I'm going to own a team and your gonna be my coach ... I was thinking 'yeah right'."
Yet, here they are. An owner and a coach. Sitting around a table at the Port Kembla steelworks about to embark on an NBL season together. Their next goal is to unite the region behind them.
"The DNA of the Hawks is the Illawarra region and we won't lose that, that's important," Kordahi said.
Yet alas, dear reader, that is the next chapter of their story ...
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