North Geelong Warriors FC is delighted to announce the re-signing of goalkeeper Marko Števanja, who has committed to the club for the 2018 NPL Victoria 2 season.
The 22-year-old Geelong local cemented a starting spot in 2017 after an impressive season back at Elcho Park, his first as a senior player. Stevanja, a North Geelong junior, returned to the club after spending previous years in the Melbourne City FC National Youth League side.
Stevanja’s returned to the club in a difficult season, but positive individual performances were acknowledged when he was awared the Fans’ Player of the Year award.
The crowd favourite spoke with ngwfc.com.au after re-committing to the club:
What are you looking forward to the most in the 2018 Season?
I’m looking forward to taking on a leadership role in the team. Even though I’m still young, I believe I have the experience to lead the younger boys in the squad as I have been in their shoes before. I am also looking forward to supporting the club in what is, I believe, a defining year. I am impressed with the way the club is shaping up and now it is up to us players to match the clubs ambition and drive it forward for future generations.
Being a local boy, what did it feel like making your senior debut last for North Geelong Warriors last season?
It was weird. It was a very surreal experience and I don’t remember much of the game to be honest. Even though it was a very bitter ending to the game, the support that I felt from the stands was amazing. I felt very at home and that was something I had not felt before. It was an experience I will cherish and was a big factor in the decision for me to stay at the club.
Having worked with Luciano Trani previously at Melbourne City, what are you expecting him to bring to the club?
From my perspective, I think Luc will bring a completely new set of standards that are yet to be felt by most NPL clubs not only in Geelong or Victoria, but in Australia. I know his standards are high and that is something we are really lucky to have. It is something I hope we, as players, and as a club, can embrace. It is not going to be easy, it’s not going to be something that we are used to, but I think we can fully embrace it. Even though we are a special club already, I believe that Luc can really take us to that next level.
On a personal level you had a successful season in 2017, but how do you hope to improve your game in the upcoming season?
Although personally you could say it was a successful year, it was a very tough one. I think I conceded the most goals in the league, but it was something I gained a lot of experience from which was great. I really want to improve my leadership qualities, make myself known on the pitch and dictate games. I don’t want to be keeping us in it, I want to be winning us games. I want to be that driving force behind us, taking home a lot of points and a lot of wins helping us push to the top of the table. With the team that the club will build and the standards set by all of us, I don’t see why we can’t bounce right back and I don’t see why that shouldn’t be our goal.
It is still early days and pre-season has only just started, but what do you expect from the squad and yourself in this upcoming season?
We won’t have the most expensive, most talented or experienced players, but I think the one thing we will definitely have is the most hardworking squad. The only thing we can control is how much we commit and how hard we will work and I think with Luciano at the helm we will be the most hardworking team in the competition. We have started pre-season much earlier than everyone else, we’re training much more than anyone else and I think that in itself will help put ourselves above the rest. We’ve got to take control of our own destiny by being the hardest working team on and off the pitch and I think that will bring us success this year. And if it doesn’t, it will set us up for success in the future.
What is your message to the Warriors faithful, what do they have to look forward to?
Although I didn’t get a chance to be a part of the two massive highs of getting promoted in 2014 and 2016, I still saw the passion in people’s eyes at the club, even at our lowest times. I can say that last year was without a doubt, one of the lowest times for the club. And to still see people there coming week in and week out, I can guarantee, your faith will be repaid. Keep supporting and keep believing in us because we are not only working for ourselves, most importantly we will have a group of players who are working for the club and community. My message is to keep the faith, keep the belief, we are doing everything we possibly can and it’s all for you guys.
And one last message to the more vocal supporters, are you happy with your current chant or do you expect to see another one appear this season?
It is unbelievable, I’m happy with it and I hope I can hear it a bit more this year.
Stay tuned to our social media channels for further announcements.