The National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition was dealt a major blow when round 1 kicked off last weekend following the news that Blacktown City FC star Mitchell Mallia made the decision to hang up the boots following his struggle with a severe foot fracture injury he suffered in 2022.
The 30-year-old former Australian youth international played a pivotal role in the awareness of the NPL NSW Men’s competition following his time with the Marconi Stallions and of course Blacktown City which saw the attacker win A-League deals with the Central Coast Mariners, Sydney FC and Perth Glory.
Unfortunately, a nasty fractured foot injury that hit Mallia last season proved to be the final blow in the star continuing on for the 2023 NPL NSW Men’s season.
“Unfortunately I fractured my foot last season, and I kept playing on it.
“I got 6 injections through the year to get through the pain. The type/location of the fracture is very complicated – low blood supply means it struggles to heal and can actually start to die off.
“The surgeons explained that if I was to keep playing on it, I will eventually need a bone fusion which would pretty much immobilise my ankle.
“Whilst I was desperate to keep playing, I was not willing to risk not being able to kick a ball in the backyard with my kids in 10 years’ time for a few extra years playing.
“It was a decision that was pretty much made for me.”
Mallia started off his career as a promising young footballer at the age of 6 where he played with the Patrician Brothers in Fairfield – from there he developed and saw him play the world game for 25 years, eleven of which were in the NPL NSW Men’s competition where he made his debut with the Marconi Stallions as a 17-year-old.
Asked who his major influences were on his footballing career, Mallia stated his father and former Dutch star Arjen Robben.
“My father has been there with me through every single moment of my career, sharing both the triumphs and the heartache, and I couldn’t have done what I’ve done in football without him.
“In terms of a football influence, it would be Arjen Robben. He was a very left footed player playing on the right-hand side, direct dribbler, loved 1 v 1 situations. I learned the most from him and admired the way he played.”
Mallia was fortunate to have celebrated many victories throughout his career but cited two moments that would live long in his memory after announcing his retirement.
“I would say my debut and first goal for Sydney FC was special. The reward for the endless amount of extra training to get to that level and score my first goal was why it was a moment that will always be with me.
“My second was winning the 2022 NPL NSW Men’s Championship with Blacktown City.
“It was my third title, after battling through pain every day, 6 injections over the year, two physio sessions every week, to have won this and then lifting the trophy was one of my most fulfilling moments in my life.”
Mallia was honoured at Landen Stadium last Sunday prior to the 2022 NPL NSW Men’s Grand Final replay which saw his former teammates take a point against Manly United and stated that he would of course be watching and cheering them on to glory for the 2023 season.
“Of course, I will be cheering the Blacktown City boys all year and I’m backing them to go back-to-back this year.”
Asked what would be next on his agenda now that he has called full-time on his footballing career, the former speedster was looking forward to growing his collectible trading card venture.
“I’m really into collectible trading cards, so I’ll be trying to grow that as big as I can doing it full time now.
“I’m also going to enjoy the extra time with my family after all the sacrifice they have made for me.”