With the ASB Premiership fast approaching Exodus Team Wellington caught up recently with former Captain Karl Whalen who has over 100 appearances for the franchise with and was a foundation player and one of the finest defenders to appear for Team Wellington.
Where you are currently based and what your current involvement is with football?
I am still in Wellington, working at Victoria University. I am on a break from all things football which has been great. Have played on the odd occasion to help out Petone FC.
When you joined Team Wellington and why?
2004/2005, at the very beginning of the franchise. I was playing for Olympic at the time. I was asked to trial, somehow impressed, and continued with Team Wellington for the next 9 seasons. While I love the club football culture, playing in a regional representative side certainly appealed and I am thankful for the opportunity it gave me to connect with so many legends of the game in Wellington.
Person Who Most Influenced Your Football Career at Team Wellington?
I felt all three coaches (Mick, Stu & Matt) have contributed to my development as a player. Three very different coaches who took a different approach to football. But I learnt different things from each of them. And in my early years, the senior players played an important coaching role for me too.
Most Respected Team Wellington Team Mate and Why:
It’s hard to single any one person out with this one. I had a great time with the guys who believed in what TW was all about, who gave everything on the field while also contributing to the all-important culture off it.
I’d throw onto this list – Woody, JD, Hammertime, Stingray, Birchy, the Little bros, Eager, Schaeffs, Mike Wilson, 2metre Peter…. I could be here all day sorry.
The best player you played with at Team Wellington and why?
Again, many to choose from. Some players stick out when it comes to dominating big games, Darren Cheriton, Andy Barron, and Michael Eager.
But in terms of outright talent, I’ll go with Jared Curtis. It was incredible what he could do with a ball sometimes and he was such an athlete and dangerous player for us in the early TW days (When he stayed on the field!).
Favourite match for Team Wellington and why?
Would have to be the Auckland semi at Kiwitea street that we won 4-2. We stole it in extra time with big 2meter Peter coming off the bench to star for us and send us to the final.
Best Highlight from your time at Team Wellington?
Probably when my good mate Dylan Hall punted the ball into my head from close range after packing a sulk when he got chipped by Keryn Jordan at Newtown Park.
Playing 100 games for teedub was special too.
Toughest opponent and team you played against while at Team Wellington and why?
Toughest opponents would be the deadly Auckland combo of Keryn Jordan and Grant Young. I spent many games tied in knots chasing those two. They were both so busy and clever with their movement, while being so clinical with every chance they had. They always forced us to go up a level when playing Auckland.