After 14 rounds of VAFA football, Old Paradians remain the only undefeated team in the senior men’s sections and are showing very few signs of slowing down anytime soon.
This year’s successful run comes on the back of three topsy-turvy years across Division 1 and 2 since claiming the 2015 premiership over Ivanhoe.
They suffered immediate relegation from Division 1 at the end of 2016 before stabilising last year with an unlikely preliminary finals appearance against West Brunswick in Division 2. Winning three of their last four home and away games, the Raiders snuck into fourth and even led the Westies by 14 points at three quarter time of the preliminary final before being overrun with six unanswered goals.
Raiders skipper, Chris Kandilakis, joined Joe Pignataro & Nick Armistead on For the Love of the Game and discussed how they’ve set the benchmark in Division 2 this year and remain undefeated 14 rounds into the season.
“We started pretty well, we got an influx of players,” he said.
“It just put pressure on spots, most of the guys were going to be good senior players which we found out pretty early and the guys all lifted a bit. We got some good experience in there as well and with the U19’s having a few years in succession which we didn’t have for a while we’re starting to see the fruits of that really.”
“The commitment from last November up until now is just fantastic.”
Kandilakis has been a regular in Old Paradians’ senior line-up since debuting in 2008 and was an integral part of their set-up during 2015’s successful premiership run. As an experienced campaigner and leader of the club, he believes the Raiders are on the right path and a calculated loss before finals in not necessary.
“We’d love to go through undefeated,” he said.
“There is the talk that you might need a loss to waken us up a bit so that you don’t go through the motions, but I don’t think we need it.”
“To be able to get through to Round 14 undefeated I think is an amazing effort, if we can go right through it will be awesome. To go 14-0 we’ve beaten everyone, we’ve got to take every week at a time, but I think you set your goal pretty high after winning that many games in a row and obviously promotion is first and foremost, but a flag would be that much better.”
This scribe was reliably informed by someone who’s a proud part of the Old Paradians’ history, St Kevin’s 2015 Premier B run was the most recent perfect season.
I hope for everyone involved with Old Parade this year they can do just that and make history of their own.
To listen to the full interview on this week’s FTLOTG podcast, click HERE or download via the app store.
Photo: Old Paradians