‘Beware the Spartans are coming’ would be an appropriate catchphrase more in line with ancient Greece than Aussie rules football, but come they will to play off in their most important game of their two year history – The Grand Final.
The Spartans Club 18 team affiliated to the Hawthorn Amateur Football Club and competing in the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA), has made its mark on the competition by taking almost all before them and then some.
The side is made up of mostly Greek Australian players who regularly met for a casual kick to kick and Sunday training session in Camberwell just 2 years ago. The concept of forming a competitive team started as a discussion amongst friends and the idea grew from a Sunday morning fitness session, gathering momentum until the Spartans became a reality in 2011.
After a successful first season, the Spartans managed to win almost every game during the home and away series finding their way into their first grand final in their inaugural year. They didn’t win the premiership, but did accredit themselves well for their tenacity and fighting spirit, going down by only15 points.
Much of the team’s strength comes from its large fan base including sponsors, family, friends and supporters who turn up weekly to watch the team play.
Ushering in the 2012 season – The Hawthorn Spartans commenced training focusing on the long road to success, vowing to take care of unfinished business and do one better this year by taking out the big one.
Most of last year’s players were back for another season and with the addition of new recruits, the 40 man squad looked very formidable indeed. True to their word from the beginning of the season, the Spartans playing a faster ball game with their superior run and spread were not just winning matches, but were hammering the opposition week in, week out, to finish on top of the ladder.
Two weeks ago, they defeated Therry Penola by 67 points in the second semi-final and guaranteed their appointment with destiny in the grand final where they play Old Geelong for the premiership flag, a team they have defeated twice this year.
The latest from training this week, is the news that Hawthorn will choose the best team possible from almost a full squad of fit players. The Spartans’ last training run on Wednesday saw the selection of the grand final side before final preparations got underway for the big game on Sunday.
Sunday’s Grand Final against Old Geelong will be played at Sportcover Arena, Glenhuntly Road, Elsternwick (Mel Ref 67 D3) commencing at 11:40 am.
The Hawthorn Spartans are expected to play an exciting fast game of football as Melbourne’s Greek community turns up in droves, gets behind and cheers the only Greek-Australian Aussie rules footy club in Victoria, on to victory.
Go Spartans!
Grand Final Team
BACKS: John Farah (21) Chris Armatas (17) Martin Wawrzynczak (48)
HALF BACKS: Dean Bubunaras (15) Will Ioannidis (13) Paul Doubakis (3)
CENTRES: John Koziaris (1) Anthony Demetriou (CAPT)(8) George Dellaportas (10)
HALF FORWARDS: John Bartzis (14) Mark Murray (43) Tim Demetriou (9)
FORWARDS: Con Terzoglou (7) Ari Mitropoulos (VC)(18) Justin Rieve (40)
RUCKS: Andrew Boocock (31) Nick Criticos (30) Andy Stavridis (36)
INTERCHANGE: Dean Korlos (24), Andrew Salipas (2), Christian Seely (22), Andrew Toumbakis (26), Paul McArthur (38), Dean Ekonomides (44), Anthony Hachem (6), Julian Handford (19)
EMERGENCIES: Chris Katsanevakis (25),Peter Antonopoulos (5),George Georgiou (35)