It’s been a great year for one of the NPL NSW Men’s experienced defenders in Mitchell Stamatellis, especially with the birth of his son Bodhi, and while he’s relishing a break from football to enjoy time with his family, he’s hoping the close-knit Rockdale Ilinden squad can get back together soon.
“It has been a good year, especially with the birth of my little boy at the start of the year – I think that’s made it,” he explained.
“I think it’s been an up and down year for us at Rockdale… especially with COVID coming back.
“We thought things were getting a little bit better and then there’s been another lockdown, I think it’s definitely been a little bit of a rollercoaster.”
Despite being apart, the close-knit Rockdale community is still supporting one another off the pitch.
“We’ve got a really strong group at Rockdale and we’re really close.
“I think the coaching staff is really supportive, they’re always there to lend a hand and be an ear if we need them.
“Steve [Zoric] sent a message the other day, just saying he would get in touch with each and every one of us individually and make sure we’re going ok.
“It’s a really close community and club and a very supportive network which is good, and all the boys are always willing to talk to each other if anyone needs anything, and they’re all aware of that, so I’m very happy to be at Rockdale, especially considering the circumstances.”
While the stay-at-home restrictions have dampened Rockdale’s effort to turn around their recent struggles, Stamatellis is certainly making the most of his extra time to enjoy time with his wife and six-month-old son.
“It’s just good to spend a bit more time at home with the little guy.
“He’s six months old now so he’s smiling, he’s laughing, he’s a lot more interactive so as a dad it’s a lot more fun, I can do a lot more and I’m really enjoying the time that I’m spending at home with him.”
Looking forward to the return of football after lockdown, Rockdale certainly have high ambitions.
“Win the grand final, that’s our goal.
“We were a bit unlucky to lose on penalties last year, so we do want to go one better and win the grand final this year.
“To turn the recent results around, head in the right direction and come back with a championship is definitely our goal.”
-By Madeline Riley