Johnny Rončević, the 26-year-old Ploče Eagles club president gave us an interesting interview. Keep reading and find out more why he decided to form a club and what he thinks about main differences between Croats and Australians.
– When did you move to Croatia and why?
I moved to Croatia on Christmas Eve, 2014, because I chose to do what EVERY Croatian that lives in Australia wants to do- live in Croatia. Ask any Croatian who has lived in Australia where they would rather live and you will get the same answer every time.
– When you came in Croatia, were you surprised with Footy scene and a level on which is Australian football in Croatia?
I was at rugby training in Ploče and saw one of my team mates wearing a Gold Coast Giants jersey and spun out where he got that from, only to find out that there was a footy league in Croatia. He explained the footy scene and I was keen asto get involved.
– Why did you decide to form a club?
Footy is pretty exciting sport and being an Aussie in Croatia I wanted to be involved. It is very difficult process to start up a club here in Ploče and still continuing to be very challenging because people here are a bit scared of the unknown greatness of footy, so obtaining help is and was a difficult process.
– You are Docker fan. Why did you decide to form an Eagles club? They are big rivals in your hometown, aren’t they?
As Nat Fyfe said after winning the Brownlow medal, “I would live and die for the Dockers”. However, he also mentioned keeping footy in Western Australia strong. When I approached Josip Kravar, I was only given two options for a team, either the Eagles or Port Adelaide, as the Dockers were already taken. Being from West Australia, I stayed loyal to my home state and chose the Eagles. However, if Zagreb Cvjetno Dockers want to swap, I’ll be happy to. My morning “kava” is and always will be in my Dockers cup.
– How many members your club have?
I don’t have an exact number for you but I remain optimistic that we will have a force of fans at home games.
– What do you expect from Croatia, especially from Australian football in Croatia?
I expect it to be a tough competition but I want to expose some of the talented boys to a sport that I’m sure we will have an impact in and teach all other teams how to really drink!
– What are the main differences from a Footy and cultural perspective between Croatia and Australia?
Footy perspective – the AFL grand final means that the whole country stops for those few hours and brings the nation to a standstill (in comparison, like when Croatia played against France in 98).
Cultural perspective – Croatia is more laid back. Here they work to live, in Australia they live to work. They may have less here, but they appreciate it more and they are a much happier a less stressed group of people.
– What are your plans here in Croatia, according to Footy and generally in life?
In regards to Footy, a premiership within the first 3-5yrs would be good. And in life here in Croatia, to travel Europe more and enjoy what life has to offer on this side of the world.