Victory star’s touching gesture after young fan’s tragedy

Melbourne Victory’s Grand Final hero Lawrence Thomas has shown he has just as much class off the field as he does on it by supporting a young keeper who has endured a personal tragedy.

Elsewhere, his Victory skipper is weighing up his playing future, while Fahid Ben Khalfallah knows what his future holds in Australia.

Catch up with all those and more from around the competition and the media with our Hyundai A-League Paper Talk.

THOMAS’ INCREDIBLE GESTURE TO YOUNG FAN

Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas has gone above and beyond to help a youngster who suffered a personal loss recently.

Dandenong City keeper Nick Caccamo’s father unexpectedly passed away, with Thomas sending messages to the youngster to show his support.

And the 26-year-old went a step further over the weekend, heading down to watch Nick play his first game since his dad’s passing.

Thomas knows from experience how hard it can be to deal with the death of a parent at a young age, with his own father Andrew dying just four days before his 16th birthday.

“This was something that took a long time for me to talk about,” Thomas told the Herald Sun in an interview in 2016.

“He took his own life. It was very out of the blue. No one knew why or how come. It’s something that lingers with me all the time, not knowing why.

“It sort of opens your world up, I tend to see the bigger picture.

“That was a very difficult time. It’s a big part of the reason why I don’t fear too much, I don’t get too caught up in a lot of things people would.

“Not being picked by a coach to play is a very minor setback.”

Lawrence Thomas
Lawrence Thomas after his man-of-the-match display in the Grand Final.

VALERI KEEPING OPTIONS OPEN

Melbourne Victory skipper Carl Valeri remains unsure if he’ll play on in the Hyundai A-League next season.

In a story in the Sydney Morning Herald, the 33-year-old admitted he’s weighing up whether to continue playing in 2018/19 or pulling the pin after leading Victory to the title earlier this month.

"I’ve sat down and spoken with the club and Musky [coach Kevin Muscat] and I want to stay at the club, it’s just a matter of in what capacity," Valeri said.

"We’ll see how that pans out, I'm going to have a think about things with my wife and decide over the next week about my playing future.

"I’ll definitely be involved at the club in some capacity, I’m still unsure what that is but I’m a part of Melbourne Victory and I don’t want to go anywhere else."

If he does call it quits, Valeri ruled out going into a coaching role immediately.

"You almost end up being consumed by it because it’s hard to switch off from what I’ve seen, so I’m just not ready to make that plunge right now,” he said.

Carl Valeri walk out
Carl Valeri

RISDON’S PERSONAL REASON FOR LATE ARRIVAL

Josh Risdon was a notable absentee as the Caltex Socceroos arrived in Turkey for their pre-FIFA World Cup training camp, despite Western Sydney Wanderers’ campaign ending more than a month ago.

But the speedy right-back had a reasonable excuse for being allowed to get into camp late. The 25-year-old married his partner Ebony last weekend.

Risdon will be hoping he can put the honeymoon on hold until well into July, as it means he’s made the final 23-man squad and will be on the plane to Russia next month!

JETS LAND SOME SILVERWARE

While they may have fallen short of taking out the Hyundai A-League title, the Newcastle Jets Youth Team enjoyed some success at the Hong Kong Sevens tournament.

The youngsters took out the Plate Final – the third-tier of the event – courtesy of a 2-0 win over Yau Yee League Select.

Angus Thurgate – who got a taste of the Hyundai A-League under Ernie Merrick last season – and Kieran Hayes scored Newcastle’s goals in the decider.

The Jets also overcame fellow Hyundai A-League outfit Wellington Phoenix in a penalty-shootout on their way to the final.

FBK EYES COACHING ROLE

It seems Fahid Ben Khalfallah has his post-playing career mapped out, with a desire to get into coaching now his professional playing days are over.

While the 35-year-old signed on to play for NPL2 outfit Nunawading FC on the weekend, he told www.girondins4ever.com he has plenty of options at both of his former Hyundai A-League clubs.

“I’m also planning to be a coach, I’m doing my degrees [coaching badges],” Ben Khalfallah said.

“At Melbourne Victory, I have a contract waiting for me after the career, much like a club ambassador.

“There is also Brisbane who wants to keep me here, for recruitment and coaching.”