51-year-old SA legend and Elizabeth Downs star speaks on the Magic of the Cup

Nathan Day is a legend of South Australian Football.

Having scored an astonishing 128 goals across 297 appearances in his state’s top flight league, Day received Football SA’s life membership in 2020 as a result of his strong contribution to football in Australia.

Day’s career, in a beautiful full-circle experience, began and ended with his beloved Elizabeth Downs SC, where he played for the club as both a junior and a veteran senior.

“I kind of finished my career there, probably around 15 years ago I played for them for five seasons,” he said on his time at the Downs.

“And I also played as a junior coming up for around five years too, so I did my junior years there as well.


“So that’s why I wanted to finish my career there.”

However, this season, after the Down’s upset 6-3 victory over State League 2 side Port Adelaide Pirates in the Australia Cup, many noticed a familiar face donning the silky maroon strip.

The South Australian legend was back, at the ripe age of 51, playing for his beloved side once more.

“I say that I had to see a cardiologist about my heart and had to get a scan, and when I went to see him he looked a bit concerned,” he said on his return to the beautiful game.

“I passed him a bit of paper with a picture of my heart and it was a football!”

“This year I’ve got my son who’s 16 playing out at the Downs, and I asked the first team coach if he could join training to get some good experience.

“So for the first couple of weeks I was just watching.

“But then the opportunity to go back out there was offered to me so I took it.

“I still feel I’ve got something to contribute.”

As well as contributing at the grassroots level, Day has been given the opportunity to show his quality at a higher level, coming against the Pirates in the Australia Cup.

“We enjoy being part of it - the Downs are a very successful ametuer side and every game they play they want to win and do well,” he said on their involvement in the competition.

“It’s a good opportunity for all the boys to see how far they can go.”

Day’s words epitomise the magic of the cup - the competition presents the perfect opportunity for players young and old to express their love and passion for their community sides through their football.

The fact that the Downs can step out on the field against a State League side as underdogs, but with a South Australian footballing legend on their side to aid their cause, shows the true beauty of the competition.

It gives the likes of Day the perfect opportunity to give back to a club so prevalent in his junior years, by applying his quality and experience to the Downs against higher-ranked sides - even at 51 years old.

His side will next take on Gawler Eagles on Friday the 15th of March at Argana Park, with another Cupset in mind.

“You know what football’s like, it’s all on the day,” said Day on the upcoming match and on Elizabeth Downs’ ambitions in the Cup.

“We’ll just hang in there and do our thing, and where it takes us it takes us.

“I don’t think any team - no matter what division they’re in - would like to be drawn against the Downs and we just have confidence in the team that every time we go out there we’re going to give our best.”

With Day on their side, and a team hungry for success, the Downs will be confident of producing some Cup magic to advance further into the preliminary stages of this storied competition.