The ever-reliable Peter Pelekanos believes Marconi Stallions are on the right track to return to greatness in their first season back in the top flight of NSW football.
Since cementing his place in the side in 2016 the no nonsense defender has been a constant feature in a squad seeking to restore pride to a club that boasts a tremendous history within Australian football.
As one of the thirteen clubs that in 1977 formed the National Soccer League – the country’s first ever truly national sporting competition – the Fairfield based side would go on to lift a record four national titles and feature in all 28 NSL seasons before the competition disbanded in 2004 to make way for the newly formed A-League.
Marconi then immediately entered the NSW Premier League as it was known at the time, in which they would be crowned champions in 2012 just before the league was rebranded under the National Premier Leagues banner.
Few would predict the bumpy road ahead for the club as a torrid 2015 season would be the worst in Marconi’s decorated history, resulting in their infamous relegation to NPL NSW Men’s 2.
“When the club started to rebuild after getting relegated is when I joined Marconi,” explained Pelekanos.
“We spent two years in NPL 2 and fought for our way back up.
“It was a big thing while we were in NPL 2 as we knew at the time that such a big club can’t be in this league.
“It really was a driving force that helped us get back into the top tier where we definitely belong.
“We are very familiar with the history of this club and we try to do everything we can to live up to the expectations.”
Having featured in every minute of the 2018 NPL NSW Men’s season so far, Pelekanos believes his personal development must be attributed to powers greater than hard work.
The 23-year-old defender has benefited greatly from the mentoring of his experienced defensive partner in former Socceroo Michael Beauchamp, as well as the mentality driven into the squad by coach Peter Tsekenis.
“It’s been an absolute pleasure playing with Michael Beauchamp,” beamed Pelekanos.
“He’s full of experience and is the ultimate pro.
“I’ve spent the last two years playing alongside him and I’ve learnt so much, and it has me playing pretty well now in my first season in the NPL NSW Men’s competition.
“There’s plenty of improvement to come as well.
“And with Pete (Tsekenis) and Flea (assistant Peter Papoythis), ever since they came in, they’ve really changed it up for us and the mentality is now all about winning.
“We think we can go very far in this competition and are expecting a big year.”
Marconi have made an encouraging start to their 2018 campaign, now sandwiched in the middle of four teams sitting on 8 points – within a single win of the top five.
Last weekend’s 1-0 victory over Pelekanos’ former club Blacktown City has the side in good stead and raring to go for their next match against Rockdale City Suns.
“We got off to a very good start obviously with a big opening win against Sydney United,” said Pelekanos.
“It was followed by a bit of a rut but the draw against Hakoah and the win against Blacktown, especially the win, has really lifted spirits as we’re back to winning ways leading into the next round.
“It’s a huge match for us coming off a big win, and we’re full of confidence going into the game.
“Rockdale are going to be a tough opponent as they’ve got dangerous boys up front that can do some damage.
“As long as we turn up I’m very confident we can get the result.”
See if Pelekanos and Marconi Stallions can keep their ambitions on track this Saturday against Rockdale City Suns. Kick-off is at 7pm at Marconi Stadium.
– By Michael Shoolman