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.
Football nut and AFL Goulburn Murray league operations manager Simon Devine is looking forward to the challenge of carrying on the proud tradition of the Goulburn Valley Football League.
Police investigating a break and enter at a Mulwala club more than 10 years ago are renewing their appeal for public assistance by releasing an image of a person they believe has information to assist them.
Tatura’s Victory Hall is set for a big year as preparations get under way to celebrate the hall’s 90th birthday in September.
Former district resident and award-winning television producer Joanna Werner will no doubt be shopping for a glitzy gown ahead of the Emmy Awards in New York on February 20.
Rochester Secondary College school captains Dom Atley and Tim Poole have been accepted to study biomedical science in the first step towards becoming doctors.
Will it be Merrigum or Lancaster?
Fire destroys key public buildings in Seymour
Finley Henry Matheson was bestowed one of the highest Australia Day honours.
Heathcote Hostel residents were treated to a visit from Heathcote’s favourite horse, Sub Zero, as part of Australia Day celebrations.
Recent weather conditions have come as a mixed blessing for farmers, with high rainfall and humidity providing a respite for irrigators as well as difficult growing and picking conditions for fruit growers.
Darren McLoughlin only started playing croquet seven years ago.
From orchards to harvest to shelves, a new exhibition will celebrate the Goulburn Valley’s iconic fruit industry. The Photos of the Fruit Industry exhibition will run as part of the SheppARTon Festival in March and aims to share memories and history of an industry that has shaped the region.
Former Benalla footballer Tom Rockliff has been named captain of the Brisbane Lions Football Club.
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