It was a big weekend for NWS Spirit FC as they celebrated a major milestone for club captain Grant Cornwell on their Club Day at Christie Park.
A popular figure around Christie Park demonstrated by a recent club wide engagement program where he was the most requested player, Cornwell played his 350th game for the club this past weekend in a derby fixture against Northern Tigers. And stands to play his 200th first grade game against Bonnyrigg White Eagles in round seventeen action. We caught up with him to discuss that achievement recently.
350 games for the club (and nearly 200 in first grade), how do you reflect on that achievement?
It’s a milestone I’m proud of and glad it has been at NWS Spirit FC. I’ve always been passionate for football and loved every minute of it.
There is always going to be ups and downs throughout the years, but I have had the opportunity to meet some great people and make lifelong friendships while seeing the progress of the club.
What attracted to you to Christie Park in the first place?
I had been released from my previous club at the end of the U13s season, and Northern Spirit was a strong and well known club. I was fortunate enough to be offered a spot in the U14s squad and never looked back.
The club has progressed since then. Tell me about the changes you have noticed in your time there?
It has come a long way from when I was coming through the ranks. Spirit has always had a strong culture with a strong emphasis on a family/community environment that formed part of Gladesville association.
The club has become more professional in recent years, offering additional resources from the youth all the way through to the seniors as we push for promotion to NPL1. Which has seen other things come along such as all grades being provided with GPS tracking, Strength & Conditioning coaches, physios and most importantly, passionate coaches who care with a good knowledge of football and structured play.
At 30 years old, you’re one of the more experienced players in the dressing room. How do you see your future playing out?
To be honest, I haven’t thought too far ahead whilst I am still playing and enjoying my football. Hoping I can continue for a few more years to see just how far we can go.
What’s it like to work with Perko?
Fantastic, he’s a passionate coach who puts a lot of time and effort into giving us the best opportunity to perform at our highest level and play a good brand of football. You can’t ask for much more than that at this level.
This season, how do you think it’s going? Confident of a top four finish?
We had high expectations at the start of the season, and we are happy to be competing in a tight top 4 at the halfway point. Whilst we know we have dropped some valuable points, it’s hard to be upset with where we are sitting. NPL2 is always a difficult competition all the way through to the end, we need to continue to work hard and hopefully that sees us up at the top come the end of the season.
By NPL2 Men’s reporter Justin Smith