It wasn’t exactly the exciting season opener we’d all craved.
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When I touched base with Sydney FC a short time ago enquiring about the results from Steve Corica’s test yesterday, I wasn’t expecting to hear the news that his career is over.
The confirmation that Corica tore the hamstring off his bone within the first 10 minutes of Sunday night’s big win over the Melbourne Victory is a shattering blow to not only the club and its chances of turning its premiership into a championship, but it the cruelest way for this legend of the local game to bow out.
For neutral fans who have enjoyed the quality that Corica has brought to the local game it is also a loss.
Announcing his retirement last week, the plan was to go out on his own terms, at the top, with a premiership and championship medal dangled around his neck. Mike Cockerill pieced this fitting tribute at the time.
But such is the cruel fate of sport that injury has intervened.
Fittingly, and fortunately, Corica has gone out a winner, and while he wasn’t on field for much of Sunday’s exhilarating occasion, there was little doubt in the post match celebrations just how much the Sydney skipper means to his teammates.
Even yesterday, at the launch of the A-League finals in Sydney, the skipper was at his understated best, admitting he had requested to fly to Melbourne for Thursday’s first leg of the major semi final. He wanted to be there with, and for, his teammates.
Little wonder he is so popular in the dressing room, and beyond.
Many long time fans of the local game might remember the teenager who burst into the Marconi starting 11 and scored an incredible solo goal in a semi final at Parramatta Stadium when he went on a mazy run from half-way.
Fittingly, his last ever goal came at the same venue 10 days ago, when he converted a penalty against Perth Glory.
In the ensuing days, weeks and months, Corica’s attention will turn to nurturing the brightest talent at Sydney FC’s disposal, and there is little doubt he will instill the same positive, go-forward mentality he had throughout his playing days.