Nick Kalafatis has made an impassioned plea to his Goulburn Valley Suns teammates to give their all for the shirt and make the Suns a successful National Premier League club.DAMEN FRANCIS April 22, 2014 3:10am
Goulburn Valley Suns leader Nick Kalafatis issued an impassioned plea for his teammates to play for the shirt in the wake of the team’s fifth straight National Premier Leagues loss on Saturday night.
Nick Kalafatis drags his tired body off the treatment table in the McEwen Reserve dressing room.
It’s half-an-hour after the final whistle blew signalling the end of Goulburn Valley Suns’ fifth National Premier Leagues game — a fifth straight home defeat to start a maiden campaign that promised so much.
Suns players file forlornly back into the room after a clearly unpopular cool down routine.
The room is quiet, almost sombre.
Everyone just wants to go home.
It’s Easter Saturday after all, family time.
Not Kalafatis, he has something to get off his chest.
‘‘I’m too old for this,’’ he says, pointing to his bruised, battle-weary torso.
‘‘But I’m here because I want to be part of something special and this is special.’’
Fifteen minutes earlier, Kalafatis’ father and Suns powerbroker Jimmy Kalafatis had his say.
‘‘Relegation is real,’’ Jimmy told them.
‘‘We’re here for the long haul, and this team will succeed with, I hope, or without you.’’
Jimmy’s words hit hard, but Nick’s cut deeper.
It’s like the difference between getting scolded by your uncle and being told off by your friend.
Nick was out there with them, putting his ageing body on the line more than most.
He speaks of family and the need for honesty among the playing group.
You don’t keep secrets from those you respect, he says, or from your family.
Nick is not the most eloquently-spoken man, but if his words didn’t convey his message, the slight quiver in his voice does.
He looks every player in the eye throughout his address.
‘‘I’ve played for a long time and I have never lost five games in a row,’’ he says.
It’s a rare moment — possibly the first — of someone bleeding for the Suns shirt.
For the handful of young Melbourne-raised players, it was a stark reminder that this club means more than just a pay packet.
More than an empty promise of deluded grandeur for a sports-mad region, long starved of elite-level representation.
If English coach Melvyn Wilkes or hand-picked A-League veterans Naum Sekulovski and Kristian Sarkies were under any illusion of the importance of this project, they aren’t anymore.
If only everyone in the Shepparton soccer community could have witnessed it.
Hopefully when the Suns next play at home, against Bentleigh Greens in four weeks’ time, the fans turn out to support their team and see it for themselves where it counts — on the pitch.
With the annual SpringNats festival coming to Shepparton Showgrounds this weekend, police have issued a timely warning for drivers.
The Yarrawonga Mulwala Cricket Club has hosted the first ever ACA Masters contest at the Stan Hargreaves Oval in Yarrawonga.
There was a good turnout for Wednesday’s Remembrance Day service in Tatura, which saw a number of wreaths laid at the War Memorial, and the presentation to Brad Corken, of the Tatura RSL Spirit Award 2015, by president Robert Mathieson.
PORT Adelaide head recruiter Geoff Parker was stoked Echuca’s Aidyn Johnson was still available at pick 45 in this year’s AFL draft, quickly calling out the midfielder’s name.
A GROUP of Rochester Secondary College students visited Bendigo last week to donate blood for the first time.
Bowls Club hosts 49th Victorian Country Masters Pairs
The Oriential Weatherloach has infested the Goulburn River.
The largest ever Strawberry Fields crowd turned out to enjoy the event on the Murray River at Tocumwal at the weekend.
AFTER the hottest October in Victoria since records began in the 1850s, it will come as little surprise that rainfall across the district was unusually low.
No, it won’t be Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer creating the Christmas lighting in Cobram this year, it will be Cobram couple, Ron and Kath Renfrew,
‘Peppinella’ development bigger than first planned
Watch and Act issued for Corowa and Wahgunyah near Rutherglen, urging people to leave now as conditions may worsen.
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