This Saturday sees legendary Unicorn Stavros ‘Yakka’ Iakovidis make his 500th appearance in a Melbourne Rugby Club jersey. In fact, a large proportion of the 500 in the last few years have been in the same Unicorn jersey – the individualised ‘Yakka’ jersey with additional side panels built in for the added comfort of the larger gent.
Yakka first played at the Melbourne Rugby Club in 1986 after his AFL career came to a screeching halt due to a run-in with the powers that be. He was meant to go to (Melbourne) Uni, but went to the wrong place for training on his first night and has been at the centre of Unicorns culture, on and off the field, ever since.
Who from the 80’s or 90’s Club will ever forget Yakka exhorting them to find 20 cents urgently please when the hot water ran out and the meter had to be fed? Fred Stewart’s stash of 20 cents for the lights was always mysteriously reduced whenever Yakka was in the shower. Or his frequent felicitations sent to your Mum. Ever thoughtful.
Yakka is one of only three players who have played over 200 first grade games for the Club and is now one of only three players to have played more than 500 Club games. He has represented Victoria with distinction on many occasions. He was one of a small group who helped establish the Junior Club as the force of nature it has become today. The Greek scial nights, run by Yakka and Aussie George, have become one of the great on-going Club events. In 2015 he was made a Life Member of the Club.
Reflecting on his achievement Yakka said “Having three players reach this milestone is a testament to what the Club is as an entity, how it embraces it’s members, no matter what walk of life. The culture at the Unicorns is addictive and fuels long-term friendships.”
“It has been a big part of my life and given me more than I could ever give back. I love the Club. I won’t be the last to hit 500, but maybe the first to play 600!”, he added.
Yakka, from everyone that has played with you, from the current Masters who continue to play with you, from the blokes you’ve flattened and smashed (both non-Unicorn and Unicorn) and from all Club members, the President and the Committee, congratulations on your 500 games mate. Awesome achievement by an awesome bloke.
Ps Yakka is also the Club statistician, so this could actually be like, his 12th game.
Written by Life Member S. Webster
Next Match & Yakka’s 500 Game Milestone:
The Victorian Masters competition is for players over 35 years of age. The Unicorns’ Masters team, the ‘Gerries’, welcome players who might be returning to the game after a bit of a lay-off; those who might be new to the game but have always fancied giving it a go; and those who’ve decided that the days of playing grade are now behind them. Many of the players are parents of Junior players – who love watching Dad get smashed around on a Saturday afternoon. Enjoyment of the game and each other’s company is the foundation stone of the ‘Gerrie’s’ ethos. They still like winning as well.