Werribee captain Michael Sodomaco chalks up his 100th VFL game this weekend.
It has taken ten years but Michael Sodomaco will run onto Avalon Airport Oval this Saturday afternoon, chalking up his 100th VFL game. Like his debut, this game will be a club celebration, but while the new floodlights stole the show that first night, the spotlight will be firmly focused on the nuggety number three, a far cry from the 75 he wore on debut.
Dom Gleeson was club captain that night: “It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years. I remember the day he debuted in that first game under lights. A few of us earmarked him from almost day one as someone who would lead this club in the future. He was a born leader at the age of 17. It is no surprise he is still playing. I am really pumped that he can go down as a 100-game player at Werribee.”
The journey has had many highs and lows as Michael remembered on the latest Big W podcast, but he has stayed loyal to the black and gold:
“I didn’t want to be one of those players that bounced around from club to club. I like the concept of the one-club player and I have always said that I want to play (VFL) while I am enjoying it and I have the time to devote to it.”
Appointed captain by John Lamont at the start of the 2015 season, it was the beginning of a tight partnership: “John put a lot of faith in me and that started our transitional period where we oversaw so much change at the club. We went from half aligned to fully aligned, from two sides to no development side, from the year where we didn’t have any change rooms and played away games every week to now. We have a stable platform where we can build towards bringing some silverware back. Looking back on John’s and my period, it was very much transitioning the club into a new chapter, where we are stand alone with brilliant facilities and there are no excuses. So hopefully Mick’s (Barlow) and my time will be more successful.”
Werribee premiership player, life member and Sodomaco’s coach for the bulk of his VFL career John Lamont rode the bumps along the way: “It has been great to see his development. He had some early maturity in his personality in the way he conducted himself and the way he went about things. Credit to his parents. He has a good sense of humour and there was always banter in the locker room but then he would knuckle down on the training track. One of the big challenges early on were injuries. Sods was a really self-motivated, self-directed young athlete. In that 20 years of the alignment period, we didn’t have blokes chalking up heaps of games, but the character of Sodomaco, he stuck in there and now hits 100 games. It’s a great milestone with a great majority of those being in a partially or fully aligned partnership.”
Werribee CEO Mark Penaluna joined the chorus of praise for the skipper:
“He came to us highly recommend by Michael Turner (Geelong Falcons Manager) and he has been a wonderful servant of the Werribee Footy Club for 11 years now. A lot of times you can see the players through the parents and Michael has amazing parents in Steve and Felicity. He has battled a lot of hardships but is totally respected by everyone.”
More than anything the expectant first time father wants a win this weekend:
“He or she has done the right thing delaying the arrival to let me get the 100th out of the way. I want to say thanks to everyone involved at the Werribee Footy Club. It’s been a huge part of my life; my entire adult life has been spent at the club. Everyone from property stewards right through to the CEOs, Presidents, members and just people who come and show their support on the weekend, it’s just been a huge part of my weekly routine for 10-plus years. I love the club and am happy to have played 100. I hope there were a few good ones in there. Let’s try and get the win this weekend. That’s what we will be busting our gut for.”