21 July 2001
Bob Hawke once claimed he encouraged Nelson Mandela to push for reconciliation in South Africa. In Australia reconciliation is important for social harmony. The reconciliation process is valuable in football.
South Australians dislike Victorians because they reckon we have pirated their best players such as Platten and Matthew Rogers and Camporeale and McKay and Scott Burns and the Holland brothers and Byron just to name a few. But a player years ahead of his time for bridging the great divide between Adelaide and Melbourne was Nick Pesch.
He was a sensation as a junior. Represented South Australia in the national Under 17 comp. Nico continued that spectacular development with SANFL club Woodville-West Torrens. The Crows selected the youngster with 1993 pre-season pick 41. He wore the number 16 guernsey made famous by David Marshall. Now NP had a lightish physique. 173 centimetres and 76 kilos. He was an opportunist half forward who could pop up with a mark close to goals or read the ball off a pack and run into an open goal. The Pesch played seven senior games for one goal during 1994 his debut season. Did okay but had most of the year at the Combine. Graham Cornes believed Nick needed extra strength with a tick more pace. Perhaps the the coach wanted a big block V8 in a Toyota Starlet.
The clever crumber found new confidence in 1995. Signalled his intentions against Geelong in the Ansett Cup. Helped to turn the game Crowards with two clever snap goals at the 5 and 10 minute junctures of the third. A glorious banana goal in the last snuffed out any hope of a Cats revival. 1995 round 10 v. the Cats at KP. Half way through the first Pesch surprised the Geelong defence by gathering the ball and kicking in the middle of a pack. Full points. He took a gutsy grab early in the second and got crunched. From 40 metres a two flagger. Adelaide fans thought their guy could be the new Heady. Unfortunately Modra's serious injury hindered the Crows who lost 14.7 to 16.20. The lively forward could adapt to any conditions. For example round 16 against the Roos at FP. A night game in bucketing rain. Classic winter football. Pesch was a dynamo. Provided his own light. Marked under pressure late in the first quarter. Goal from 30. With the ball on the ground and sliding Nicholas soccered a major in a goal square full as a primary school shelter shed. His third was scooping the ball from a pack and running into an open goal. Crows home 9.11 to 7.12.
Pesch contributed a goal in the 1996 round 4 Football Park whitewash of Essendon. Crows won 23.23 to 9.11. The euphoria of the victory would even have had fans drinking Adelaide water.
At the end of '96 Adelaide traded the 22 year old Nick Pesch to Melbourne for Clay Sampson. The Crow had played 31 games for 15 goals. The Reconciliator blended in well at Demonland. Took over the number 16 synonymous with John Towsend and Bob Johnson. Peschy had four games in 1997 but was delisted at the end of that season.
A brief career but a coup for improving Adelaide-Melbourne relations.
The Coodabeen Champions Pharaohs of Fate