At The End Of The Day
“THERE’S NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT BECAUSE THERE CAN ONLY BE THREE RESULTS – A WIN, A DRAW OR A LOSS”
I knew I made it as a player when I played my first game at 17 for South Melbourne under Brian Garvey. There were three players from the youth team including myself that got picked to play for the last game of the season against St George. I don’t know if I can say I made it, but it was just an indication we were being looked at for the future of the club. I was happiest when I was playing. Generally if I got a run, I was happy. When you’re younger, you don’t realise how important the squad is to you. My heroes growing up were Ferenc Puskas, Alfredo Di Stefano, Diego Maradona, Roberto Baggio and Michel Platini. The reason why I knew these players because I watched SBS and Les Murray. We didn’t have YouTube and FIFA growing up where kids know players around the world. We had to study and find out info about them. The funniest thing was when Ferenc Puskas addressed us for the first time at South. We were really nervous and he said, ‘Don’t worry about today, there’s nothing to worry about because there can only be three results – a win, a draw or a loss’ and he walked straight out, that was it. The day football broke my heart was when we lost the grand final to Wollongong Wolves in 2001. Back then they were a good team, looking back I didn’t mind that and they were better on the day. I think they were better and sometimes a lot of people don’t acknowledge that. My proudest moment was something I didn’t receive that I felt a bit aggrieved about, I tried to win the Players’ Player of the Year for South Melbourne and I was actually in the top three players of Australia that year when Micky Petersen was coaching. I got told I’d won and because I was leaving to go to Auckland, the club changed their mind. It was something I really wanted to achieve for South Melbourne, to be the best player consistently and I did a lot of training for it. If I could change one thing most people think it’s money we need to develop players, it’s not. It’s the correct work over many years to develop players and it needs to be done earlier. If it wasn’t for football I probably would’ve gone into a different sport. I was most passionate about football, but I played most sports. Tennis, golf or even volleyball. As a teenager, I was one of the best volleyball players in Australia at the time. Three words that sum me up sporty, analytical and consistent. If you could have one wish it would be to win a World Cup. Right now I’ve been coaching for 17 years, so I’m more of a development specialist. I’m coaching technical things, including kicking on both sides of the body and shooting aspects. I still do normal coaching, but it’s not as important as the other stuff.