Mildura Weekly : Friday May 15 2015 Vol 9 No 27
sport 25 FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2015 MILDURAWEEKLY.COM.AU Colin comes full circle COLIN Sylvia’s AFL dream started way back in 2003, when he was taken with the third selection in the AFL Draft by Melbourne Demons. He was held back in his debut season due to a groin injury, and managed just three senior games for the year. The 2005 season saw Sylvia play 16 senior games and earn a Rising Star nomination, before his season was again cut short due to a shoulder dislocation while playing for the Demons’ VFL affili- ate, Sandringham. Sylvia entered the 2006 season com- ing off solid form in the pre-season, however the Demons selected him spo- radically in the senior side. In Round 14, 2008, he kicked a career best four goals in Melbourne’s one-point win over the Brisbane Lions, and in 2009 enjoyed his best year at the club, averag- ing 22 disposals and kicking 17 goals. In Round 9 that same year against Hawthorn he had a career-high 37 dis- posals and four goals, kicking three goals in a row during the third quarter. Sylvia’s 2010 season was again marred by injury, causing him to miss seven games. However, he was regularly one of Melbourne’s best players in the 15 matches when he did play, and ended the season finishing fifth in the club’s Best and Fairest. At the end of the 2013 season Sylvia signed as an unrestricted free agent with Fremantle Football Club, managing just six games with the Dockers. He was relegated to the WAFL prior to the commencement of the 2015 AFL season for “failing to meet fitness stan- dards,” and announced his retirement on April 28 this year. He played a combined 163 games, finishing with 130 goals. RETIRED AFL footballer Col- in Sylvia this week confirmed that he will return home to the Merbein Football Net- ball Club, agreeing to play a minimum of three games for the Magpies during the 2015 Sunraysia Football Netball League season. The signing is a major coup for the Magpies, who currently sit fourth on the ladder and are enjoying their best start to a SFNL season in some years. Sylvia is scheduled to play his first 2015 game for Merbein in Round 7 against Imperials, before returning two weeks later for the Com- munity Bank Cup match against Wentworth. Merbein coach Peter Johns said he was excited that the club had secured Syl- via’s services for a portion of the season, saying the door was open for the former AFL player to commit to the club long-term “if he wanted.” “The fact that Colin is coming back to the club and will be playing at least three games for us is huge,” he said. “Hopefully he enjoys the experience and makes it a full-time commitment, as we would love to have some- one of his quality around our club.” Peter compared the sig- nificance of Sylvia’s return to that of former VFL Essen- don Bombers captain Ben Duscher, who also returned to his Merbein roots at the start of the 2015 season. “Colin will be very simi- lar to Ben in the leadership that he brings to the club,” he said. “He is a quality sportsper- son, and will be able to give a lot to the young guys who are still learning the game. “Talking to the players everyone is up and about re- garding the news, and Colin will only add to what is fast becoming an exciting group.” Peter said that while the club was riding high after a solid start to the season, the Magpies were under no il- lusions that they had a long year ahead. “We have managed to win the games we thought we could at the start of the year, and also take a couple of bigger scalps along the way,” he said. “Looking at our side last year it wasn’t a bad side, we were probably just lacking those bigger bodies with that extra experience. “We’ve managed to ad- dress that with guys like Ben (Duscher) and now Co- lin coming back, but at the same time we are under no illusions that the next few weeks we will be playing top four sides. “Our success will obvi- ously come down to injury, form, and how we continue to stack up against the best sides in the competition. “We’re trying to build a culture at the club where people want to be, and we’re slowly starting to earn the respect of the competition.” Merbein Football Net- ball Club president Toney Hurley said he was excited to welcome Sylvia back to the club. “We couldn’t be hap- pier,” he said. “When Colin announced his retirement from the AFL earlier this year there was that part of you that hopes he may come back home, and to have him on board for three games – maybe more depending on how he feels – is just fantas- tic. “I think it’s something that will get the Merbein community excited, and will certainly encourage more supporters to come down and cheer on the boys.” Toney confirmed that Sylvia would train with the Merbein squad prior to each appearance, with the aim to pass on knowledge to the maturing group. Toney also praised Mer- bein player Mark Duscher, who played a major role in convincing Sylvia to return to the club. “Mark is one of his best mates, and spent a lot of time just talking to Colin about the possibility of com- ing back,” he said. “Obvi- ously Colin still has a lot of friends at the club, and that desire to play alongside them helped with the deci- sion.” Toney believes Colin’s return to the region will also prove a benefit to the SFNL as a whole. “Colin is among a long line of ex-AFL players to compete in the SFNL, and it’s great for the standard of the competition,” he said. Toney said there was no pressure on Sylvia to com- mit to the club long-term, stressing that the decision would be left up to the for- mer Melbourne and Freman- tle utility. “Colin is currently in the process of relocating from Perth back to Melbourne, so he has a lot going on right now,” he said. “We’ll let things like next year, and even the rest of this year, sort themselves out. “At the moment we are simply looking forward to Colin returning to the club in Round 7.” • Tune into Easymix 1467AM at 4.40pm today for Adam Luitjes’ weekly sports preview Sylvia confirms Magpie homecoming • Merbein coach Peter Johns I-CUBE QUARTZ I-CUBE ONYX TEXTURED ALPINE SLIMLINE SLAT E URBAN GREY SMOOTH CREAM SMOOTH MOCHA SMOOTH FRAPPE SMOOTH LATTE TEXTURED EBONY TEXTURED SANDSTONE WOODGRAIN TEAK WOODGRAIN OAK ASSEENONTHEBLOCKTRIPLETHREAT Y WOODGRA ASSEENONTHEBLOCK2011ASSEENONCHANNEL9’STHEBLOCK! 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