STAR striker Fred Gardner credits a move to Leeton United this season for reinvigorating his love for the game.
Gardner and younger brother Henri will be out to help Leeton United end a 27-year title drought when they tackle Hanwood in the Pascoe Cup grand final at Equex Centre on Sunday.
It shapes as a big weekend for the Gardner family, with father Laith and siblings Maryam and Eric aiming to win the under 15-16 boys grand final with Lake Albert Red.
The Gardner brothers' move to Leeton United this season has proven a brilliant one for both parties. The brothers have been central in United's rise to a grand final, while the club helped the pair enjoy the game again.
"I wasn't really going to play to be honest with you. But when I signed with Leeton it made it enjoyable again," Fred said.
"It's been unbelievable. The coaches, the staff and just the players, we're just all like family. They've welcomed us into the club. It's been amazing.
"Me and Henri have had the best season with them. We've really enjoyed it. It was the best move. We're pretty happy. We get along with the coach, he's amazing. And the players, especially the players, they've got a pretty good bond. It's good. We just came out of nowhere and they welcomed us in like family ever since.
"We haven't looked back."
The Gardner brothers were central to Leeton United's 6-0 major semi-final thrashing of Henwood Park. The pair scored Leeton's first three goals before playing next to no part in the second half due to injury.
Fred, 31, and Henri, 30, are no strangers to Pascoe Cup success, having won six titles throughout their career. Henri said number seven would mean a great deal.
"Hopefully this years can be added on too. It was a nice challenge when we first arrived at the club, they hadn't won it for years and we wanted to contribute to that," Henri said.
"We've had a really good year with the guys, we've gelled really, really well.
"I've really enjoyed playing with Leeton, the style of football we play and it's more than a club, it's like a family. Through the tackles, scoring a goal, everyone always gets behind everyone, if you make a mistake, everyone's always got your back."
Fred is confident they can end Leeton United's drought on Sunday.
"Our team we're travelling pretty well. I'm confident we can win it, but it's a grand final, it's football, it's whoever turns up to be honest," he said.
"With the way with everything is going, our boys have been playing great football so I'm pretty confident. The team is back to full strength. Last time we played Hanwood, they were good, it was a 1-1 draw, but we had a lot of players that weren't there.
"I don't want to sound too cocky but bring on the finals."
Firstly, Fred and Henri will be out at Equex Centre on Saturday cheering on their Dad Laith and siblings Maryam and Eric's Lake Albert Red team that plays South Wagga in the under 15-16 grand final.
"It's an exciting time for the Gardner family. Our family is all passionate about soccer," Fred said.