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.
Coca-Cola Amatil has confirmed it will be pressing on with its $100 million redevelopment of SPC Ardmona.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
A snake was spotted this afternoon.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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