Z is for Zor...zanello! Alby set for 100th Royals start

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The flowing locks and silky skills of Albert Zorzanello have been a constant over the last five years at Ormond Park.

The Essendon Royals mainstay has been a crucial cog in the machine that has won several promotions and helped the club to State League 1 in recent seasons and is in line to make his 100th senior start for the club this Saturday against Yarraville FC.

A former junior at the club, Zorzanello has served as vice-captain and captain in our senior men set-up, playing with 116 different players in the process.

To date, he has scored 28 senior goals for the Royals, which includes 16 goals in his first two seasons as a senior player.

A few goals from Essendon Royals mainstay Albert Zorzanello as he puts himself in line for his 100th senior start for the Royals.

Zorzanello played several years at the club as a junior before returning as a senior player a few games into the 2014 season, and he hasn’t looked back since.

“It means a lot to get to 100,” he said.

“I was here as a junior when I was eight-years-old, left when I was 15 and came back as a 19-year-old, so it’s been a big part of my football.

“It probably took a while [to get to 100 starts] with a few injuries, but it means a lot to finally get there.”

Man in the middle: Alby has always been a popular team-mate at the Royals.

Man in the middle: Alby has always been a popular team-mate at the Royals.

Current senior coach Vaughan Coveny had nothing but praise for Zorzanello who has been impressing in training as he looks to take back a regular spot in the starting XI.

“I think to get to 100 starts is a fantastic achievement,” Coveny said.

“In these divisions, for a player to play at a club for over five or six years consistently to rack up 100 starts, that’s incredible.

“All respect to him. He’s a loyal club man, he well-liked in the group and he’s a good player who brings a lot to the team as well.

“It’s a milestone he should be very proud of.”

Zorzanello returned to the club to play a crucial role in the Royals’ climb up the State Leagues.

“I think I left when I was 15 because I think the seniors had to start in a low division and I wanted to try and play a bit higher,” he said.

“But when I was 18 or 19 and Michael Curcija was the coach I decided to come back and it’s been a steady rise from State League 4 to progress to where we are now.”

The Royals veteran has enjoyed plenty of good times at the club but couldn’t top the promotion winning years.

“The year we won State League 3 was obviously a stand-out,” he said.

“Then two years later we got promoted from State League 2 to State League 1 [in 2016] and that was a great year too with some really good boys.”

The Royals sealed their promotion to State League 1 with a 7-0 win over Moreland United SC at Ormond Park that season and Zorzanello’s hat-trick that day stands out as one of his favourite days at the club.

“Luca [Simeoni] scored a hat-trick that day as well and obviously the win helped us achieve promotion, so that was a really memorable game,” he said.

“Luca probably stands out as one of the better players I’ve been able to play with here, but there’s also [current team-mate] Ryan [McEvoy]. Those two probably stand out.

“But that whole team in 2016 was special. We had a lot of good players, maybe Alistair Dunlop is another that springs to mind.

“It’s just a good club. You always feel supported and it’s well-run, so I’ve loved my time here. That’s why I’ve decided to stay for so long and that’s why I hope to stay for even longer now.”

Get down to Ormond Park to cheer on the Royals and help Albert’s 100th start for the club a memorable one.

Seniors kick-off at 3 pm.

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