Stavrou sets sights on big finish

Stav 1

Back in the fold after an injury layoff, Marcus Stavrou will be a valuable asset in the second half of the year. (PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Murdoch)

With his first game for 2018 ticked off, Northern Blues vice-captain Marcus Stavrou is itching to get some continuity in his football.

Stavrou was a welcomed inclusion for Northern last weekend, as he broke his 2018 duck after a pre-season injury.

On the eve of the season, a fractured fibula sustained at training ruled Stavrou out of VFL action for over two months.

As he returned the thick of the action on Saturday, Stavrou was understandably excited to be back in Blue.

“It had a been a long time coming for me in between games,” Stavrou said.

“To finally be able to throw on the Northern Blues guernsey and run out with the boys again was definitely a relief, hopefully I can build from here and help the side the best I can.”

Stavrou admitted that the delay to his start to the year was a disappointing one, after the youngster was one of the club’s shining lights in his debut 2017 season.

He marked his return on Saturday with 13 disposals and three tackles the defeat to Geelong.

“At the time when the injury occurred, I was a little angry with myself to be honest: you work all pre-season to be fit and ready to go and then it happened,” Stavrou said.

“Once it all settled in and I accepted what happened, I knew there was nothing that could change it and it was about diligently focusing on my recovery.”

Adding to the frustration for Stavrou was he couldn’t represent his club in his new role as co-vice captain.

In the role alongside Mason Blakey and Kane Keppel, the young defender said he was looking forward to growing into the role as the season progressed.

“First of all, it was an honour to be appointed vice-captain with those guys, who are great leaders and even better blokes,” Stavrou said.

“Running out with them alongside our skipper ‘Willo’, it was definitely an unreal feeling. It did take a little time to adjust to it, particularly with the injury.

“I still had to find a way to have a voice. It’s an exciting challenge, taking ownership of the role and acting as a role model with such a young, inexperienced group.”

Stavrou’s referral to the playing list as a “young” one is particularly telling, considering the big-bodied defender is still just 19 years of age.

Embracing the leadership mantle, Stavrou said the morale is strong and chemistry is constantly building among the group.

“It was definitely a young group out there for us on the weekend, as it has been really all season,” Stavrou said.

“Running out there for the first time this season, straight away I saw a strong bond between the group among both the AFL and VFL-listed players.

“With us being so young, I feel we all have to work off each other and bring real energy to game day and training.”

There would’ve been no shortage of new faces for Stavrou to get used to. He ran out with 11 players for the first time in a Northern Blues jumper on Saturday: half of the side.

“If we produce our best footy over four quarters, we have the ability to win any game,” Stavrou said.

“It’s a long season, we are more than capable of achieving a positive year. It’s just about doing it consistently.

“For myself, I think it’s just about continuing to build each week after a bit of time out, and making sure I’m having a positive contribution to the team.”