Exciting young defender Matthew Reid has come a long way in a short time with Green Gully.
Only four years ago, Reid struggled to get a gig in Cavaliers’ top junior teams, but is now a permanent starter in the club’s NPL team.
“When I was in the under 16s and 17s, there was a time I was in the B team, but I just stuck at it through the under 18s and then I got to captain the under 20s side,” Reid told Star Weekly. “I got a chance to start training with the senior team, played a few games and it’s sort of just gone from there.
“I’m loving it,” said Reid, who has made memories to last a lifetime in the past month.
He was a major player in the Green Gully team that famously upset Central Coast Mariners in the FFA Cup round of 32.
Striker Liam Boland produced a wonder strike to lift the Cavs to a shock win.
“That was unbelievable the way it panned out in the end,” Reid said. “When we got Central Coast, we knew it was going to be tough being an A-League team, but we’ve got such a great belief among the group, and in each other, that we knew we could get the job done.
“We just kept believing, we just kept at it and we knew we had the players to make something happen.”
Reid has played with Green Gully since the age of nine, proud to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather George, who captained the club.
“I never got to meet my grandfather, but it’s nice that I can relate to him one way, playing at the same club and getting to represent Gully like he did,” Reid said. “In 1955, he was the captain of the club and, once he retired, he stayed on and was involved in the club in the accounting side of things on the board.
“My dad [David] took over the accounting from my grandad when he passed away.”
Reid is studying accounting at RMIT, so he might even end up doing some work for Green Gully once his football career is over. He is also a part-time risk assessor, which closely resembles his job on the field with the Cavaliers.
Reid has spent most of the season at left back, but sees his position long-term as a central defender, a spot where Green Gully has an embarrassment of riches, with veterans Rodrigo Vargas and Daniel Jones holding down the fort. Reid joked that the veterans are in the central positions “mopping up the mistakes” made by the youngsters.
He is relishing the chance to play alongside Vargas and Jones.
“Roddy and Jonesy have been absolutely brilliant with their leadership,” Reid said.
“In training and games, I just watch what they do, ask them a few questions here and there, and try and learn what I can and pick up things that they do to improve my game.”
Reid’s both solid in the tackle at the back and dangerous in the air at set pieces, and he has ambitions of playing at a higher level, dreaming of picking up an A-League contract in the future, but knowing defenders tend to be looked at later, with a bit more experience under their belt.
Should Green Gully be the end point though, he will not be complaining.
“I just love to play the game and, if anything more came of it, that would just be a positive on the top,” Reid said. “But I love playing with Green Gully.”
The spotlight will once again shine on Green Gully tonight when the Cavaliers do battle with Melbourne Knights in the FFA Cup round of 16 at Knights Stadium.
Reid expects a different Knights’ side to the one that saw its NPL season fizzle out.
“Melbourne Knights are going to be a really tough team; they’ll be well rested and up for it,” Reid said.
“It’s going to be a big occasion, they’ve got a lot of support down there and it’s going to be loud. You can’t ask for more to play for than the round of 16 on the national stage.”