Fire dynamo moves on by Steve Zemek
|New signing Tyson Holmes playing for|
Sunshine Coast Fire in the QSL Photo: Warren Lynam.
A founding member and former captain of the Sunshine Coast Fire, he has been an integral part of a side that has dominated the competition for the past five years.
It would be an embellishment to say he has been the lone driving force behind the club's success, but the Fire's rivals will be glad to see the 25-year-old's back.
For years it has been a catchcry of his coaches and teammates: "Tyson should be playing in the A-League."
The attacking midfielder has been on the cusp before, trialling or training with several national clubs, including Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide and the defunct Gold Coast United and North Queensland Fury.
While his signing with Victorian Premier League side South Melbourne FC does not guarantee him a saloon passage into the top flight, it will move him from the periphery into the direct line of sight of many A-League clubs.
He stops short of saying his move is motivated by a desire to play in the A-League, but does acknowledge the Victorian competition is considered the strongest state league in the country and that he has a desire to prove himself.
"The Victorian Premier League is probably the strongest state league in Australia," he said yesterday.
"A lot of the players are coming through to the A-League from the Victorian Premier League. All the A-League sides keep an eye on the competition.
"It's a massive opportunity. I'm going to get down there and try to prove myself and get out of my comfort zone away from Queensland."
Holmes fielded offers from several Victorian clubs but signed with South Melbourne after being impressed with its set-up and professionalism.
The club is considered one of the most prestigious in Australia, winning four National Soccer League championships in the 1980s and '90s.
Holmes said it was a difficult decision to leave the Fire but he felt the time was right after the side's fourth grand final win in front of a home crowd against Whitsunday last month.
"Playing with the boys has been fantastic - they're a bunch of my best mates," he said.
"With (retiring forward) Shaun (Blackman) and a few others probably going away, the grand final at the end of the year, it just felt right - it felt like it was time to move on.
"It's amazing what we've achieved. It's been an extraordinary time, but it's time to move forward."