Otago United will have to play the remainder of the
season without its captain and inspirational defender, Tristan
The talented 22-year-old is transferring north to Waitakere
United. It is a great opportunity for the Dunedin-born and
bred left back to play for one of the league's leading clubs.
In that sense, it was an easy decision to make. But telling
his Otago team-mates he was leaving in the middle of the
season to chase his dream was difficult.
''I trialled for them at the start of the year and the coach
said the door would be open in the transfer window just after
Christmas, so away I go,'' Prattley said.
''It is a great opportunity and puts me in good stead to go
on with my career. But it was an extremely tough decision to
make because I've played for Otago for the last four or five
''And being captain, seeing them struggle at the bottom,
well, it is not somewhere you want to leave the team you play
''But it is just what I have to do to go further in my
career. Telling my team-mates wasn't the easiest thing to do,
but they understand what I need to do.''
Otago United coach Richard Murray described Prattley's
departure as a ''massive loss'' but he wished the player
''He will play in the O-League as well, so it's a massive
opportunity for him,'' Murray said in a text from Vietnam,
where he is holidaying.
''It's a shame it is in the middle of the season but I can
understand his going and wish him well.''
Prattley's influence at the back and on the team will
certainly be missed. He was one of just two Otago players
named in the league's team of the month and he produced a
strong performance in Otago's only win this season - 1-0
Otago United is on the bottom of the competition table with
one win from seven matches, while Waitakere is at the other
end with six wins and a draw from seven games.
Waitakere has qualified for the group stage of the O-League
and if it wins that tournament, it will qualify for the Club
A chance to play in tournaments of that calibre was a
powerful drawcard for Prattley, who leaves for a holiday in
Thailand today and will miss Waitakere's round eight game