On the bus with GV Suns

June 14, 2017

The Suns paparazzi were out and about as I travelled for the first time with the GV Suns.

Away days: Suns winger Stefan Papageorgiou returned to his former club Box Hill, after signing with the GV Suns at the beginning of this season

The GV Suns unload all their props off the bus as they prepare to take on Box Hill United on Saturday.

It is a long day, a tedious kind of day where you have to get up early, pack and get ready for the big game later that afternoon.

The day generally starts at 7am for most — you wake up, get ready and have to be at McEwen Reserve by 8am to catch a bus to head to either Melbourne, Bendigo, Ballarat or Albury-Wodonga.

On this occasion it was Melbourne.

On Saturday I went on a road trip with the Goulburn Valley Suns to suss out life on the road and to be frank, the seven-hour round trip was long, but great fun — and I did not even play.

I am a morning person, so I was raring to go as I jumped on the bus, but the same could not be said for most of the players, who with headphones in ears, McDonald’s in hand and Ugg boots warming feet tried to catch up on some shut eye.

Of course, there was the usual banter and unfortunately there is always that one guy who can’t sing, but chooses to anyway.

As expected, the bus left McEwen and was en route to Box Hill, but a trip to Melbourne would not be complete without stopping at the service station.

Wallan, where you are always guaranteed to see someone you know, was descended upon by 50-odd rowdy country folk from the Goulburn Valley.

Class clown Rob Hughes was at his best, looking for a Spiderman mask to wear if he scored that day, while Alou Koul was busting out his little gangster dance every few metres and Nick Corbo, well he was just ordering his son Gerald around.

After about 30 minutes we got back on the bus, minus a Spiderman mask for Hughes, and we finally arrived at Box Hill, after I jokingly copped abuse about anything and everything that had to do with The News.

Realistically, travelling is a logistical nightmare for the team manager and the officials; they have to get the balls, cones, water bottles, bibs, kits, magnets, players and whatever else together.

It is a headache.

But the banter on the bus and the game itself makes up for it.

With the seniors and under-20s travelling together, the former are at the ground for a long time, they have to wait at least three hours before they can start to get ready.

But if you are in Box Hill, why not get a Pad Thai to give you some much-needed energy for the game, or search for that elusive Spiderman mask.

Hughes did that and the Welsh winger stuffed a Spiderman mask down his shorts in case he scored.

Unfortunately, he failed to last the full 90 minutes, let alone score.

As the day wore on, we watched Fred Zito demande better of his under-20 side at half-time, before they went on to lose 3-0.

As the seniors were about to begin there were a few devastated Suns fans after realising that a spit and/or souvlaki would not be on offer at United’s canteen.

To be honest, it was a little bit disheartening, especially coming from a club with Greek heritage.

Anyway, I actually began to work as the seniors started — I took notes, pictures and was fixated on a thrilling game of football.

The Suns were lucky not to concede three or four times in the opening 20 minutes, but as fate would have it, the only game that I travel for ends in a scoreless draw.

There is a golden rule in sport, what happens on the pitch stays on the pitch and post-game, after a heated 90 minutes, players from both sides engaged in a bit of banter in the clubrooms before the logistics crew had to pack up and get ready for the 3-hour trip back to Shepparton, via Wallan of course.

The bus trip back was rowdy after a few boys stopped to see their mate Duncan and lubricate for the trip home, with a night out at The Deck in mind.

After digressing about the game and what could have been, I then hatched up in a quiet place to watch my beloved Bombers run riot on Foxtel Go ... rest in peace mobile phone data.

Finally, after a long day we got back to McEwen Reserve at 9.46pm.

It was a long day, a tiring day, especially after getting up at 4.15am to go to the gym.

The Suns are back home this weekend and will host Werribee, but in a fortnight they will have to do it all again when they travel to face Murray United.

Oh, and it is a given that their two little extras — Gerald, 11, and Kyan Maiorano, 12 —will be on the bus to rally their idols on.

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