PFA Executive Member Shane Stefanutto talks to Nine MSN about the precarious nature of a footballer’s career as he prepares for the upcoming A-League Grand Final with Brisbane Roar.
The following is the article as published from Nine MSN and written by Laine Clark.

What a difference a season makes for former Socceroos defender Shane Stefanutto.

Last year he was facing a fate worse than his serious knee injury – his cash-strapped club North Queensland Fury being cut from the A-League.

Barely a year later, Stefanutto is contemplating the prospect of clinching Brisbane Roar’s maiden championship in front of an expected 50,000 fans at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

It would be fair to say Stefanutto has landed on his feet.

“All things happen for a reason. It was tough with injury and the football situation at the Fury last year,” he told AAP on Wednesday.
“It’s just been wonderful being back in Brisbane, I guess I really have landed on my feet.”

When the dust settled on his potentially disastrous 2009-10 season, a recovering Stefanutto linked with the Roar and the Fury lived on.

But history shows North Queensland’s plight only lasted one more season before Football Federation Australia finally cut the cord on the financially embattled franchise.

Stefanutto, 31, did not have to be reminded that he could so easily have been one of the Fury players seeking future employment rather than a premiership this weekend.

“It’s like any sporting code, whether you are a coach at the Brumbies or a rugby league player, things can be taken away or change so quickly,” he said.

“It’s volatile but part and parcel of the job and something you have to accept.”
As much as he appreciated his new lease on life at runaway title favourites Brisbane, Stefanutto could not help but feel for the Fury.

“I was born in Cairns. I went up there hoping I could put something back in that region,” he said.

“I know there are a lot of passionate people who wanted a team to stay up there but unfortunately it’s been taken away for whatever reason.

“It is sad that kids up there don’t have someone to aspire to.

“But I really believe some time in the future they will have a team up there again.

“And I hope that happens sooner rather than later.”

Instead of feeling the low of the Fury’s axing, Stefanutto is hoping to relish the high of extending the Roar’s record 27-game unbeaten streak on Sunday against Central Coast with a historic championship victory.

Even the prospect of Roar players being poached due to their amazing success does not faze him.

“It may be a once-in-a-football-career opportunity – it may never happen again,” said Stefanutto, a former Brisbane Striker in the old NSL who linked with the Fury after five years in the Norwegian league.

“But because we have been so successful we will have players who attract attention from other clubs and will want to move overseas.

“If that happens next year good luck to the guys.

“But on Sunday we will be together, after that whatever happens, happens – we just have to enjoy Sunday.”