When James Chronopoulos went down through a horrific knee injury midway through the first half in last year’s PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues NSW Mens Preliminary Final between the Bonnyrigg White Eagles and Sydney United 58, an unknown youngster by the name of Stevan Savicic got the call up.
In the biggest match of the year for both clubs, the 19-year-old pulled his gloves on and jogged to his goal for his debut in competitive senior football.
“Initial thoughts that went through my head were, I’m ready, I can do it easily, especially against Sydney United 58.
“Some nerves as always but I just knew I had to play my usual game.
“It was a very good experience.
“The occasion made it even bigger but I have to say I loved every minute of it even under the tough conditions on the day.”
With experienced heads in the White Eagles dugout such as Brian Brown, Cliff Pointer and goalkeeper coach Jose Bello Amigo, the youngster had all the support he needed.
“Jose was giving me some reassurances, telling me I’ve been playing well all year and that this was my chance.”
Despite the support though, he soon understood what it meant to be a senior player.
“At half time after a shaky first half, Cliff told me to pull my head in which I knew I had to and did.”
Despite some second half heroics from Savicic and some saves that are still spoken about today, the White Eagles lost 3-2 and missed out on taking its place at last year’s Grand Final.
It was a bitter-sweet debut for the young keeper.
“I felt great but also pretty upset after the game.
“Great because of the occasion, performance and support I was shown but upset because of the loss and injuries to the boys.”
With preseason well and truly underway, Savicic moves into 2017 as the White Eagles number one with experienced custodian James Chronopoulos recovering from his devastating injury.
Even with the first choice keeper tag beside his name, the lanky keeper is feeling confident moving into the new season.
“It’s bit of added pressure I guess being number one now after a crazy last year but I know I have something to prove to both my family, people, coaches and any onlookers or doubters.”
Savicic has set his objectives ahead of the new season and for his future footballing career.
“I hope to play as many first grade games as possible this year, to cement a first grade starting position and a possible professional contract in the near future, be it in Australia or abroad.”
Being a Bonnyrigg junior, the level-headed Savicic hopes to make a mark and change the stereotype of the White Eagles production line of youth players.
“I feel very proud coming through the system here.
“A lot of people say that Bonnyrigg produces little home grown talent so I feel like I can change that.
“My family and friends are a part of the club so I’m always proud to wear the White Eagles jersey.”
-By Nikola Pozder