Blacktown City’s heart and soul player Matthew Lewis has been a loyal member of the team for many years now, only having deferred briefly to play for A-League outfit Central Coast Mariners.
Having been part of the Blacktown City system since the age of 10, Lewis’ name was etched into club history in 2020 when he became the club’s most capped player, with more than 300 first grade appearances.
Lewis has experienced Grand Final greatness with Blacktown City in the past and will be heading into his fifth National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Grand Final at CommBank Stadium in 2022 – an experience that is very special to the Blacktown star.
Lewis will guide a number of Blacktown players into their first ever Grand Final in professional football and given the experience he has, he will be able to impart some valuable wisdom on his teammates.
“People like myself and Trav [Travis Major] have obviously been in a Grand Final before and the other boys, most of them haven’t been in one so it’s a big occasion.
“I don’t think they realise how big of an occasion it is, it’s super special.
“It’s a massive week and the lead up is really exciting and obviously the buzz around the big game and being at CommBank Stadium is massive so it’s exciting and I think everyone will be up for it.”
After a challenging season for the Western Sydney outfit, they narrowly missed out on claiming the Premiership title against Olympic, but Lewis was glad his side could meet their potential and secure their place in the biggest match of the year.
“I guess it’s been a season of ups and downs, more highs than lows obviously.
“I feel like we strongly believe that we are the best team in the comp, but mistakes at crucial times throughout the year cost us and realistically that’s why we didn’t finish on top.
“We always believed we could finish high up on the ladder and eventually get to the Grand Final and win it, which is pretty much what everyone remembers.”
With some fresh talent in the form of returning Blacktown City sons Travis Major and Danny Choi, Blacktown have been able to add a bit of extra depth to their squad, which has proved valuable as the team manages injuries and illnesses.
“Bringing Trav [Travis Major] and Danny [Choi] back into the team later in the year is a huge boost, they’re two of the best players that have played in this comp hands down,” Lewis said.
“We’ve got a pretty big squad and if one misses out another one can fill in or if someone’s injured, someone can fill in, we’re confident in that.
“There are even quality young players in the 20s that could easily do a job for us as well.”
Blacktown City have been proud of their culture and camaraderie implemented by coach Mark Crittenden and embodied by the senior players in the squad in particular, giving them a great environment that Lewis has enjoyed playing in.
“It’s super, super special,” he explained.
“It’s been a great year, with a great bunch of boys and it’d just be super good to end the year on a high.
“It’s the last Grand Final, so it’ll go down in history as one everyone remembers that we were the last team to win the Grand Final, hopefully.
“For me personally, I haven’t been in one for a while and now we’ve got that chance.”