This year’s TAFE NSW Waratah Cup final will be a family affair when Marconi Stallions’ defensive duo Roberto and Giorgio Speranza take to Lily Holmes Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Giorgio, 28, and Roberto, 26, have become household names in the National Premier Leagues Men’s competition during recent years, spending the majority of their careers playing alongside each other at left-back and centre-back respectively.
After a successful three-year stint together at Blacktown City, the brothers decided to make the shift to Marconi prior to the 2019 season.
The decision has immediately paid dividends with a cup final appearance at the first possible opportunity.
The Speranza’s last tasted silverware back in 2016 when Blacktown City triumphed over Sydney United 58 in the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Grand Final, and Giorgio is eagerly anticipating a shot at lifting another trophy against the same opposition.
“I’m absolutely buzzing,” he revealed.
“No matter how old you get, being involved in big games is what you play for, and there are no bigger games than Finals.
“We have many friends and family who are super keen to come and support us on the weekend so there is no doubt everyone is excited.”
Both brothers are relishing the opportunity to line up together with a shot at securing what would be their second shared major honour.
“I’ve said it many times before but it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to, not only play alongside my brother on the pitch, but also win trophies and silverware together,” Giorgio said.
“Rewind the clock to 20 years ago, and we are playing with a soccer ball together in the backyard at home, and it still feels the same, except it’s just on a much bigger scale now.”
“We’ve tried to keep most of our career playing next to each other because we want to achieve what we do together,” Roberto added.
“It makes it all that much sweeter.”
Interestingly, Giorgio will experience a strong sense of déjà vu as he takes to the Lily Holmes Stadium paddock this weekend.
Back in 2010, the elder brother was a member of Marconi’s last cup winning outfit who defeated Spirit FC 7-6 on penalties at the same venue.
“It’s amazing how fast time goes but I was lucky enough to play a Waratah Cup final in my first year of playing 1stgrade,” Speranza reflected.
“Being 18 years of age, I was very nervous leading up to the game and looked up to the senior players, in particular the captain at the time, Nahuel Arrarte.
“On Sunday, it will be my turn to lead by example for the younger players and hopefully guide them to a Cup Final win.”
The Speranza’s were two of the host of established NPL NSW Men’s talent who joined the Stallions this campaign, and Roberto is confident that Peter Tsekenis has constructed a roster capable of ongoing success.
“It was a group decision to decide that we still want to play together and continue to win things together,” he revealed.
“I think we have enough big-game players and experienced individuals who can all be consistent, disciplined at the right times and produce some magical moments.
“It’s a chance for us to win a trophy but it’s also the chance for us to set the tone for the rest of the season and really go on a winning roll, heading into the finals.
“We want to make the finals and really give it a good shake-up.
“I think we’re starting to hit our straps at the right time and if we continue on, starting this weekend, we will continue to be a force to be reckoned with.”
By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Reporter Chris Curulli (Twitter handle @ChrisCurulli)
2019 TAFE NSW Waratah Cup Final
Sunday 14th July
Lily Homes Stadium – 2:30pm kick-off
Marconi Stallions v Sydney United 58