Football: Toronto-Awaba Stags honour former Socceroo with inaugural pre-season cup agains
CHAMPION: The career of former Socceroos Darren Stewart will be celebrated at Peacock Oval on Saturday.
Toronto Awaba Football Club along with APIA Leichhardt FC are honoured to host the Darren Stewart Cup in memory of Darren.
The day will celebrate Darren’s involvement with both Toronto Awaba and APIA Leichhardt as well as the families involvement with Toronto with Ray Stewart playing over 500 games for the club.
Peacock Oval in honour of the former Socceroo, who died 18 months ago.
Stewart was a Toronto-Awaba junior and went on to play in the national league for the Newcastle Breakers and APIA Leichhardt.
The defender made his Socceroos debut in 1992 and earned three caps before moving to Malaysia where he had success at Johor before turning to coaching in Singapore.
Toronto-Awaba are going through a rebuilding phase. Steve Piggott has taken over the coaching reins and Wheelhouse will lead a side comprised mainly of locals.
Wheelhouse, who has several successful years at Lambton Jaffas after retiring from the A-League, is also working with the Stags juniors.
The clash against APIA is his first hit out, but the main focus of the day is to honour Stewart.
"It is more to celebrate the history of the club and celebrate Darren's contribution to football in the Hunter," Jets goalkeeping coach and former Stag Chris Bowling said.
"Darren and Mark Jones made their debuts for Toronto at age 16 in a second division grand in 1983. Darren's father, Ray, was in that team. He played over 500 games for the club and is a life member.
"My father was treasurer and president of the club for over 25 years. I was a ball boy from the age of five and grew up watching Darren play. He had great playing career both here and in Malaysia and was a highly respected coach.
"We don't celebrate our history enough. Newcastle has a long and proud history. Darren represented Newcastle here and abroad . It is more about the community than the game itself."
Bowling said Stewart's death at age 52 shocked his peers.
"We will make a small presentation to his parents before kick-off," he said. "It is gold coin entry with all proceeds going to Beyond Blue to support men's mental health."