Rydalmere Lions captain Alistair McKie has made history, becoming the first player in the club’s history to play 100 first grade games.
McKie celebrated his 100th game in an emphatic fashion, playing arguably his best game of the year in a winning effort against the table topping Inter Lions.
The 31-year-old admitted he had extra motivation to take his game to another level on his 100th game.
“I think beating Bankstown City the week before gave us plenty of confidence and we were high on emotion already, then you play a top of the table clash and you add a 100th game in,” he said.
“We’re a really tight bunch and the boys knowing it was my 100th game, it gave everyone a spring in their step, I also had around 25 friends and family attend the game, so that obviously helps as well.
“On the back off the week before I got man of the match against Bankstown City, so I said to myself if I could do that in a big game last week, I needed to step up again and as a team we did.”
McKie noted his journey to Rydalmere was one he didn’t expect to make, after spending the majority of his youth career playing for Gladesville Ryde Magic.
“This is my sixth year at Rydalmere, but before that I spent seven years Gladesville and I thought I was going to stay there for a while, then some things happened I spent the next two years at Spirit and Granville.
“When I played for Granville we lost to Rydalmere 7-1, after the game I spoke to a few officials who wanted me to join after the season, I went the following season and we got promoted to NPL 2.”
McKie credited the club and strong bond his team shares in helping him hit the milestone
“It’s a good feeling [playing 100 games] and I definitely think Rydalmere are going places, with the culture they want to bring in it definitely means more knowing that will be a big achievement in the future.
“They’re trying to develop players from quite young, we have a youthful squad and a few of our 18’s and 20’s players train with us every second session.
“It’s a great achievement, but with the amount of talent we have right now, it’s definitely going to come to an end soon, but I’ll hold onto it for as long as I can.
“We’ve pretty much had the same team for the last three years, that obviously helps and we all went through the same thing with Covid.
“We try keep as close and as positive as we can and we want to get the club promoted to where they want to be and with the boys being this close it helps.
“The two new players, Ahmad [Taleb] and Tim [Wohlfel] have definitely joined the bandwagon and we have the perfect amount of banter and seriousness in the squad.
“If you speak to Ben [Rollinson] our coach, he’ll tell you that he was a bit surprised that we have done so well with the amount of fun that we have amongst ourselves, it’s something that I haven’t been a part of at any other club.”
After going level on points with Inter Lions last week, McKie feels confident in his side’s ability to go all the way in 2022.
“Winning the title is the end goal and we’re looking to bleed a few young players into the team this year, it wasn’t guaranteed but promotion was doable with the team we have.
“Towards the start of the year when we won five in a row, we started thinking about trying to go undefeated but Covid and injuries derailed us for a bit, we’ve got our mojo back with our whole squad returning.
“It’s making training interesting and that intensity is back, to finish first is the goal and then hopefully win the grand final like we did two years ago.”
By Football NSW Men’s League Two Writer, Dominic Criniti @DominicCriniti