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.
KEVIN PROBERT DECIDES TO LEAVE AS THE CLUB LOOKS TO BOUNCE BACK WITH A WIN OVER WARRANDYTE
The Yarrawonga Pigeons scored a 20 point victory over the Myrtleford Saints at the JC Lowe Oval in Yarrawonga on Saturday.
The Aboriginal and wider community is mourning the death of revered Bangerang Aboriginal elder, Uncle John ‘‘Sandy’’ Atkinson.
Echuca-Moama Cycling Club’s All Rivers Enduro mountain bike race is proof that if you build an event, the public and competitors will come.
FOUR Rochester residents did more than their bit for women’s cancers mid last month when they trekked 60km around Melbourne to raise funds for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
Tongala Football Club lost to Rumbalara in the Murray Netball League on Saturday by 14 points.
Four generations of Comi girls this Mother's Day
Berrigan Shire councillor Daryll Morris says he has been sickened by some of the vitriol and personal attacks to surface since the council’s proposal to redevelop Finley’s Memorial Hall and School of Arts site was revealed in October last year.
DESPITE criticism from within the community over a perceived lack of use, the O’Keefe Rail Trail has enjoyed good traffic over the past couple of weeks, with more to come.
The usual yellow and black colours at Katamatite Recreation Reserve will be replaced this Mother’s Day as pink will be the colour of choice.
Jake has babies to thank for surviving cancer.
Fonterra suppliers are reeling after the announcement of a big cut in the milk price from $5.60/kg to $5 for the full current year.
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