Peter Kranitis has been a Rabbitohs supporter for over 50 years but there was one thing that he was never able to do due to his passionate commitment to his family and business.
On Friday night, in the Rabbitohs final match for the 2017 season, Kranitis did something he had never done before. He closed his shop early, got into his Rabbitohs paraphernalia, and stepped through the gates at ANZ Stadium and into his first South Sydney Rabbitohs game.
Kranitis is a family man and has owned his restaurant Delicious Delights based in Albion Park for 35 years. Each year, he only shuts the shop on one occasion, Christmas Day.
“I’ve worked seven days a week for 35 years,” said Kranitis.
“I’ve put my family first before anything.”
But this year, Kranitis was faced with an unlucky circumstance.
In August 2017, a sickening event occurred where he was violently attacked at the back of his shop by an unknown stranger. He was hit in the head and had to be hospitalised forcing him to take a day’s rest away from his job. The Rabbitohs heard about the event and reached out to Kranitis hoping to bring him to a game before the seasons end.
Kranitis’ son, George, recounted the period after the attack and explains his father’s strong passion for his family, business and the Club.
“The only time he ever shuts the shop is Christmas Day and the day after the incident when he was beat up,” George said.
“He hated it because we forced him to take the day off but he was back to work two days later and then today was the first time he has every shut the shop early and that just shows how much he loves the team and wanted to be here.
“It’s a testament to his loyalty and his passion.
“This experience for him, this is extracurricular. This is outside of work. There is work and there is home and this is like a fun outing which I don’t think he has much to compare it to.
“I know it sounds sad in a way but my dad lives for his family so that’s what his passion is. So this is just like a cherry on top for him and I think the fact that he is here is like “Well this is really nice” but I guarantee he is already thinking about opening up the shop early tomorrow. He has already got work on his mind because that is his passion but it just shows how much Souths mean to him.
“If someone is going to tear him away for five or 80 minutes its going be South Sydney.”
Kranitis first started cheering for the mighty Red and Green team back in 1967. While most of his friends and family were supporters of St George and Manly, Kranitis wanted to be different and liked everything that the Rabbitohs had to offer.
“It was probably about 1967 when Eric Simms, John Sattler, Bob McCarthy, Ron Coote, all those fellas played. I was only about 11 or 12 years old,” he said.
“I’ve always been a Souths follower even through the bad times. I never gave up.
“I just like the team, the colours, everything. Everyone else was supporting St George Dragons or Manly so I had to be different so I stuck to my guns.”
Despite his strong support for Souths, his sons chose different teams and it wasn’t until the 2014 Grand Final that Kranitis finally converted them to the Red and Green army.
“My son was a St. George supporter and my other son was a Parramatta supporter and I converted them. I think I converted them with the 2014 victory.
“I remember Sam Burgess playing with a broken eye socket, he was tough, really tough. It was a great performance they all put in. Greg Inglis was sensational, they all were, Adam Reynolds, the lot.”
Kranitis passion for the team lies deep within and is something you wouldn’t be able to see through tangible items.
“What’s so good about them? They’re South Sydney, that’s what’s so good about them. I love them. I would never change Clubs, never.
“I don’t have a room full of decorations because I’m not that type of supporter. Someone asked me what type of supporter am I if I haven’t even been to a game but I’ve never had the opportunity.
“I’m looking forward to next season when some of these players are back from injury and a couple of new players to come into the side and hopefully they will tidy up their little mistakes they make and play good football.”