There has been a key name missing from the Guernsey team sheet for all but two matches this season – a fan favourite, Fans Player of the Year for two seasons running, and last season’s Coaches Player of the Year.

You may be wondering where Jacob Fallaize has got to this season. Well, the tall centre back with an eye for goal is finally over an injury and has set his sights on a new challenge in Australia, where he kicks off the 2024 this Saturday with his new club Stirling Macedonia in Perth, Western Australia.

Before we get to that, a bit from the man himself about his start to the year. He played in the Green Lions’ opening two games of the season against Westfield and Ascot, but then decided to take time out to fix a long-standing knee complaint.

“I’ve been struggling for a a few years now with reoccurring knee problems - I decided alongside that it was best, while I'm still young, to finally take the appropriate time out to rest and sort them out whilst I still can,” Jacob said. “It has been a relentless few years with not much break in between and I never wanted to miss a game. It was a tough decision knowing I'd likely miss a large chunk of the season but luckily I am back playing now pain free.”

Fallaize signed up with Rovers to get some game time and fitness and play with some of his closer friends in hope of a return to GFC in the new year, but then a new opportunity arose.

“During my few months out, an opportunity came up to potentially play over in Australia. I had been considering going travelling or moving abroad for a while, so I thought ‘why not?’ It was a chance to get out of the Guernsey comfort zone and experience something completely new so I decided to go for it. Big credit to Tony - he helped me massively in organising everything and helping me sort out a team.

Stirling Macedonia play in the Western Australian division of the National Premier League, one level below the A-League – the top level in Australia. He is set to make his debut on Saturday in their season opener against Olympic Kingsway at their home, Macedonia Park.

“I'm currently on a 12-month working holiday visa so I wouldn't say its permanent just yet – we’ll see what happens,” Jacob said. “Guernsey will always be my home and my club so I would love to come back and play at some point.”

Fallaize has of course been keeping a close eye on GFC’s fortunes this season, and is delighted to have seen Tony Vance’s side really kick into gear since Christmas.

“I can't say I'm too surprised. When you have players like Charlton and Matty performing at their best week in, week out, it's always going to lead to points and positive results. It's something that we have struggled with over the years (having a consistent squad to pick from every week) but the quality has always been there and it is showing.

“The amount of analysis and data that gets provided every week is starting to pay off and everyone is playing with confidence which is key. They've stepped up massively and it’s great to see. Doddsy has always been a consistent part of the side and he's so versatile he can play anywhere which is a manager’s dream. Vauds has had a great couple of years since he came through and he will only get better. They have played together really well in recent weeks against tough opposition, and are learning off the best of the best in Doddie.

Fallaize has always been popular with the Guernsey fans and his parting message is a heartfelt thanks.

“It's always a great feeling playing a home game in front of a packed Garenne Stand and it gives you that extra boost when you walk out. Credit to the Manelanders too, who turn up every week for away games even when we do go through bad patches - they're finally starting to see some positive results on away days.

“Hopefully I will be back at some point - although I might not get back in the team!”

Everyone at Guernsey FC wishes Jacob all the best Down Under and we hope to see him back in a green shirt in the future.