Horsham midfielder Byron Napper has flown the Hornets’ nest for Australia where he will be spending 12 months playing for Peninsula Power.
The popular player who returned to Horsham for a second spell after joining Lewes in the summer played his last game for the club in the disappointing 4-0 defeat to Corithian Casuals on Saturday.
Napper, 22, stressed his longing desire to opt for the outback and revealed the decision was elementary as he jetted off to the Southern Hemisphere on New Year’s Eve.
Former Horsham player Dominik Hudak, now assistant manager at Peninsula Power, is Napper’s reference point and the man who partly instigated the one-time Crawley Town player to join.
Napper said: “I’ve always wanted to go to Australia, originally I was going to go at the end of the season, but I couldn’t really turn it down, it was all booked up and done as soon as possible.
“I work with Dominik’s brother, who went over and visited him in October and told him I was keen on coming over. Dominik immediately said to me ‘get yourself out here now, don’t bother waiting.’”
On statutory terms, Napper has joined on a non-contractual basis, albeit, with Power willing to subsidise his financial needs.
He said: “I’ve got a 12 month Visa. I’ll hopefully play the whole season for the team, and then come the end of the year, do some travelling around Australia and then head home in time for Christmas.
“The sponsor of the team have got me a job out there to do part time to fit in with the football, as well as accommodation.
“For now, I’m just meeting up with Dominik, training with the team and we’ll see what happens. If things go well then I’ll stay with them for the season.”
The former Crawley Down Gatwick player is uncertain of the exact standard of football at Power, but is expecting stiff competition in the Brisbane Premier League.
He remarked: “On all accounts the standard is pretty good and it will be a new experience for me and something different. I’m sure I’d only be sitting around in the cold weather over here.”
Hornets player-boss Gary Charman was in empathetic mood when approached by the versatile player, acquiescing his temporary departure.
And the midfielder, who also plays cricket for Wisborough Green, deems his side will avoid the drop this season despite sitting bottom of the table in the South Division of the Ryman League.
He added: “I spoke to Gary about leaving and he fully understands that I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do.
“He’s supported me the whole way, but he was obviously disappointed for me to leave at the time with our current position, but it’s something I’ve got to do.
“I think we’ll be alright. Gary has brought in a couple of new signings and they’ve fitted in really well. I think with the recent results it’s a real turning point now, the new year can bring new fortunes, some luck can come our way and we can get ourselves out of it.”
Horsham assistant manager Ian Varley said: “Byron going will be a massive loss, he is great around the dressing room and a top player.”