It has been an incredible season for Central Coast Mariners centre back Brian Kaltak, his first as a professional footballer.
Since starting for the Mariners in our round two clash against the Phoenix in New Zealand, Vanuatu’s national team captain has been an immense presence at the back for head coach Nick Montgomery.
Affectionately dubbed as ‘The Brick Wall of Gosford’ by Mariners supporters, his monumental season has seen him awarded a starting place in the PFA Team of the Season.
Kaltak was extremely pleased to have been voted into the side by his peers, one of only three defenders in the starting team.
“When I found out this morning, I was extremely happy to have made the team of the season. In my first season with the Mariners and as a professional footballer, being in the team is a big achievement for me. I’m extremely happy about it,” he said.
“My journey this season has been pretty crazy to be honest. I just do my best on the field for the team. At times it has been a bumpy ride, getting my three red cards. To then end up being in the Team of the Season, I reckon that isn’t too bad.”
Heading into the Grand Final, the defender is staying calm before what will be the biggest game of his career.
His partnership with Nectar Triantis is one of the key reasons behind the team’s success this season, with the 20-year-old also selected for the PFA side via the bench. Confidence is high in the entire team, something that Kaltak can clearly see.
“It is pretty crazy for me thinking that I am going to play in a Grand Final. I know that I will have emotions and feelings but right now I am pretty relaxed to be honest,” he said.
“It is just like another game, I’m really confident and everyone else is as well for the weekend.”
Along with the support of local Central Coast fans, Kaltak has had the entire country of Vanuatu behind him since he first signed for the club at the beginning of the season.
A nation with over 300,000 citizens, the defender expects many of them will be in front of television screens to watch the game, which be shown live on Saturday night.
“It has been absolutely crazy. Everyone as soon as I made it into the team have been following my progress and the club’s this season. Now that we have made it into the finals it is even more crazy. When we went back to Vanuatu for a week with the team, to see the impact that I have had on the fans and everyone was amazing,” he said.
“The game will be shown on television in Vanuatu. They will show the game live with the coverage so everyone in Vanuatu can watch it. My community and my family will all be watching it together in a community hall which will be really nice.”
The defender has also found that community spirit right here on the Central Coast, proud to be a part of the region. The area making him feel welcome ever since he arrived, feeling the support from everyone.
“This club is a great community. Everywhere you go around Terrigal and Gosford or even the entire Central Coast, they all know you,” he said.
“The good thing about the fans here is that they walk up to you and have a conversation. All that us players hear is good luck and all the best for this weekend.”