There was plenty of excitement in the air as thousands of spectators gathered on Tuesday night to watch the Hellenic Athletic Club claim victory over its rival, Darwin Olympic, at the inaugural GleNTi Cup.
The Cup, which was held at the Darwin Football Club, kicked off at 6pm with a special exhibition match featuring the under 16 women teams, with Hellenic AC claiming victory 3-1.
“The girls loved it. They came off the football ground pumped and now next year, the senior women teams will be holding a match for actual competition points,” Nick Poniris, President of the Greek Orthodox Community of Northern Australia, tells The Greek Herald.
From there, the men’s Premiere League match was officially launched with the help of Mr Poniris and the CEO of Football Northern Territory, Bruce Stadler.
Mr Poniris first initiated a special tribute ceremony in honour of worthy past members of both clubs. This was Matthew Boubaris from Hellenic AC and Alki Athineos from Darwin Olympic. The past achievements of both players, who have passed away, were read out proudly as spectators watched on respectfully.
“The tribute was well received by the public. The families were touched and pleased we showed the players honour, dignity and respect,” Mr Poniris says.
After the solemn tribute, the fierce match between the two men teams started, with both goals by Hellenic AC being scored in the first half, followed by a heavily contested second half.
But ultimately, as the final bell rang, Hellenic AC were crowned the winners of the match, 2-0, and cheers quickly erupted from the crowd. At the trophy ceremony, a player from each team was then selected as ‘Player of the Match.’
“There really is only one serious match that needs to be won and it’s called the GleNTi Cup match,” Mr Poniris says.
“Apart from the prestige of being the winner of the inaugural cup, the team also gets bragging rights throughout the whole GleNTi Festival on the weekend.”
Hellenic AC players will receive their trophy during the festival this weekend on June 12-13.