TWENTY-SEVEN years after making his first grade debut, Henwood Park goal keeper Nathan Trinder is still loving the game as much as ever.
The 40-year-old has been a mainstay in goals for the Hawks since joining the club in 2000.
He made his first grade debut at the opening of the lights at Gissing Oval in 1994 when a teenager for Cootamundra, taking on Henwood Park.
Trinder has gone on to experience a tremendous career in Football Wagga and is still loving showing his younger opponents a thing or two.
"It takes me until Wednesday to get over it," Trinder laughed.
"I always say to my staff, or whoever, you've got to have something between work and home to look forward to. You've got to have the balance right. And I really enjoy it.
"I love Henwood Park, just the whole club.
"As you get older, you can sort of start to predict a few things which helps. Experience I suppose."
Trinder is enjoying this season at the Hawks, under new coaching partnership Michael Babic and Matt Menser.
It shows, with Trinder enjoying a superb season, and the Hawks sit in third ahead of Sunday's showdown with second-placed Leeton United at Rawlings Park.
Trinder though admits he has been caught by surprise with how quickly the Hawks got their game together this season.
"Just the way we've gelled so quickly, because it was a different team to last year. And we started very late. That's why I was surprised," Trinder said.
"We had a couple of outs but we're still a very young side. The senior blokes like Nuffy Bowman, Matt Menser and myself, there's a good balance there of youth and experience. The young blokes have just got a fantastic attitude.
"Babic and Menser are very good coaches and the boys feed off that as well. I love it. I've played a lot of football but they've got fresh ideas and they get you fired up for games."
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Trinder is happy with how the Hawks are travelling heading to the business end of the season.
"We've put a fair few good games together, which is good. We've had a couple of hiccups against Hanwood, they're obviously the benchmark," he said.
"The last month has been frustrating obviously with the grounds being closed and not being able to train. That's affected our touch and the last month we've had that many chances, we just haven't been able to put them away.
"We had a good training session on Tuesday night and all the boys are keen, especially coming up against Leeton. They're a very good attacking side so our defence will have a lot of work to do. At the end of the day, both teams are going to have their chances, we've got to take them."
Henwood Park are yet to meet Leeton this season and will play them twice over the next six weeks. Leeton thrashed the Hawks 6-0 in last year's major semi-final so the home team are fully aware of how dangerous their opponents can be.
"They obviously won it last year, they're not going to be easy," Trinder said.
"The way we're going, we'll be very competitive that's for sure. It will put us in stead to see where we're at."
Henwood Park will go into the game without Menser, who will be out for another couple of weeks with a groin injury.
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