In the 90’s I supported the Brisbane Strikers. I was a season ticket holder and went to every game with my family. I marvelled at the talented players and aspired to one day be just like them. Frank Farina, Rod Brown, Chey Hews, Kasey Wehrman, Gary Phillips, Wayne Knipe were just some of the players I looked up to.

As a player now towards the end of my career, I am just realising that a generation of kids would have looked up to me. Well most would probably be taller than me, but you get my drift.

I still love the game the same as much as when I first made my senior debut for the “Brisbane Strikers” in 2001.

It’s not always the way in football where you last to a certain age, but I’m enjoying myself and am incredibly proud that my mind, body and soul has allowed me to still do what I love most.

I like to think that I am a pretty loyal person in everything I do, and when the Roar urged me to continue, I felt as though I owed it to the club to stick around and keep going.

I fondly reflect on the memories I’ve been able to create at Brisbane, and am thankful for the competitive edge we’ve always been able to instil within our culture.

We never really achieved any trophies until Ange Postecoglou was appointed, but I always felt our best football was capable of beating any team, on any given day.

Plus, throw in the fact that I am a very proud Queenslander, it meant we would always be in the battle.

When the Roar got the licence for the then new-look A-League, it was a priority of mine to stay in Brisbane. I’m proud to have played so many years at the Roar, and have had the privilege of playing under two of the best managers in Australian football in Ange Postecoglou and John Aloisi.

A lot of managers are either good at being a leader of men or are simply tactically brilliant.

But Ange was good with both, so it was a real blessing to have him at our club and he changed the whole mentality of the place.

He brought with him a winning mentality, and through his own direction was able to get us to play the way he wanted to play but also brought in the players that fit in to achieve his game plan and I was lucky to be apart of it.

And playing under John Aloisi; he was meticulous in how he prepared with his analysis of the game.

And once again he absolutely loves football and you see that, he’s so passionate and I’d be surprised if he didn’t watch every game of football per round.

Obviously being a player himself, he knew all the styles and know how to win games.

He was unlucky – we should have won him a premiership, because he deserved a title here in Brisbane.

As one of the leaders of the team, you just want to make everyone happy first and foremost, because if everyone is happy, I feel like you play better and that’s helps the manager’s job as well.

Of course, that’s a lot easier said than done when you can only have 11 players on the field at any time.

But I feel in our squad everyone plays their part in the team and pushes their own individual case for playing time.

However, unfortunately this year we have not taken our chances. It’s been really difficult to take.

We can’t be afraid to take the game on. That is one thing I have pushed to the boys.

We need to be a lot more solid across the whole field; we’ve got the dangerous players and the variety in style of play that should help us.

But you can’t be scared to take the game on. It’s what has helped me play for as long as I have.

NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 02: Matt McKay of the Brisbane Roar walks out at the start of the match during the round 12 A-League match between the Newcastle Jets and the Brisbane Roar at McDonald Jones Stadium on January 02, 2019 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

If you make it to the A-League than you’ve got talent, but talent only gets you so far. It’s also about how big your heart is, and how much fight and belief you have to overcome obstacles.

And I want all my teammates to do well and I want to do well for them, I think if everyone has attitude of going into every session, wanting to make it count then collectively the team will get better. The results will get better and I think that’s what’s happened over my career.

I think with a lot of the players you’ve got stories from the lot of the guys ‘Oh I could’ve been there or I could’ve been that’ but sometimes players simply don’t deal well with the pressure of being a footballer and the pressures of playing in front of a crowd.

You can see some great guys at training that don’t really do it on match day. I really enjoy the occasion of playing a big crowd and I know once I go back to playing in the over 40’s or wherever I’m playing when I finish my professional career, it’s going to be tough because you play in front of 25 people.

I want to see all the young players that run around Brisbane and Queensland, dream about playing for the Brisbane Roar and fight, develop, train hard and ultimately get better to be a Brisbane Roar player in the future.

That’s pretty special for any A-League club to be that aspiration for so many young kids.

It is scary to think about life without football, professional football that is. But if I feel our game, through the support of the PFA, has each player adequately equipped to plan for the future. But the players have to take it upon themselves. I did a lot but I wish when I was younger I had done more. But I am comfortable and content when the time comes.

I have a degree, the 1st XI coach role at Brisbane Grammar School, an ever expanding business with my wife (Freddy & Co), a position with Ferguson Hyams Investment Management and also aspirations to be involved in real estate.

Keeping busy will hopefully make the transition easier. And when I find it tough, I know all I have to do is look at my two sons (Freddy and PJ) and my beautiful wife, Amanda, and see how lucky I really am. Football and Family.