Marijan Cvitkovic spoke of how his life-long support of the Knights has helped spur him on, as the midfielder reflects on last season and looks to the next after re-signing with Club.
The 27-year-old also said that re-signing with the Club he supported was always a significant moment, labeling it a highlight when speaking to melbourneknights.com.au.
“Obviously I’m delighted to be back with the Club,” Cvitkovic said.
“It’s always a highlight of mine – to re-sign with the Knights and be able to represent the Club.
“The Club means a lot to me so obviously it’s a proud moment for myself to be back and I’m looking forward to it.
“[Being a supporter], it drives your motivation.
“I’ll recall back to a couple of years ago when we were playing Pascoe Vale at home for the Club’s 60th [year]. Tommy Fraser ended up scoring a 1-0 winner in like the last minute and we copped two red cards that game.
“The crowd started doing the old “Croatia” chant and I probably haven’t heard that since I was a kid, you know what I mean? So it gives you goosebumps some matchdays, especially when you get the derbies and stuff like that. So it means a lot obviously. It gives you that extra motivation.”
Now in the thick of preparations for the 2015 PS4 NPL Victoria season, Cvitkovic was positive about his return to pre-season and highlighted the moral boost of having injured players return to the fray.
“Pre-season is pre-season – it’s always tough,” Cvitkovic said.
“Stabba (Andrew Marth) puts us through our paces. The boys are working hard and we’re pushing ourselves. It’s also good to see the injured players back on the pitch again.
“Seeing the Colosimo brothers back on the field training, and Gazza (James McGarry) is back and all these boys that missed out of last year due to massive injuries – it feels good to see them back into one collective group and just to sort of see their presence.
“It feels like we’re one family again, in a way. Everyone’s digging in deep; everyone’s working hard and it’s good to see – it’s a good feeling.”
Looking back at the 2014 competition, the Knights Vice-Captain said he had a “mix of emotions” about his injury-disrupted season, but said that all his niggles were behind him ahead of the 2015 installment.
“Look, last season was frustrating,” Cvitkovic admitted.
“There was a mix of emotions, really. The Club was involved in obviously the NPL, we were competing in the Dockerty Cup and obviously we advanced to the final, we qualified for the FFA Cup – I suppose you take all that into account and it’s all exciting and you take it all into your stride – it’s a great feeling – but at the same time, I missed ten-eleven weeks with my fractured foot.
“You know yourself that you’re not exactly 100% match fit as everyone else is. And in the back of your mind you know that you’re not 100%. When I did get back, I re-injured myself falling on my hip and I wasn’t 100% for the final of the Dockerty Cup.
“So like I said, it was a mix of emotions – it was frustrating at times. You achieve so much at the Club but at a personal level, you couldn’t bring out the best that you can.
“Fortunately though, I’ve had a bit of time to recover from those injuries, the foot feels great again, I’ve been working hard during pre-season and I’m feeling good again, so hopefully I can maintain that and have another good season ahead.”