When Manly United’s Matt Sim arrives at CommBank Stadium on August 27th, for the 2022 National Premier Leagues NSW Grand Final day, he’ll be entering rarefied air.
Not only will he be kitting up for his third consecutive Men’s Grand Final, this time with Manly United, he’ll also be aiming to guide his Sydney FC side to success in the U20’s decider prior.
Even for a player of Sim’s stature, an opportunity to both coach and play in a Grand Final, on the same day, is something that doesn’t happen often.
“It’s very unique.” Sim said, speaking to Football NSW.
“Throughout the course of the year I was never really thinking about it until the last week or two when it was like oh, this could actually happen now!”
From the perspective of the player within, it’s hard to argue with Sim. Especially when you take into account the past two fixtures he’s been a part of with Manly United that have seen them qualify for Saturday weeks’ final.
Although both encounters have oozed late drama, along with a penalty shootout that sealed the clubs’ path to CommBank Stadium, Sim believes they deserve to be there after a season that hasn’t always gone their way.
“We’ve had to dig deep (at times). We’ve had a few challenging results, especially towards the back end of the season.
“But we stuck it out to the end and continuously tried to apply the way the coaching staff wanted us to play which put us in good stead in these one off finals games.
“We never say die, we keep going until the final whistle which we’ve shown now in back-to-back games.”
For Sim, he has enjoyed a career spanning twelve years that has taken him to both the A-League Men’s and abroad.
But it’s Manly United, the club where it all started for him over a decade ago that holds a special place in his heart.
He himself will admit that at 34, his playing days are numbered. It’s because of this, that Grand Final days, like the one drawing closer mean just that bit more, especially if he can take out both the U20 & Mens crowns.
“I’m very grateful to Manly for everything they did to get me going on the journey over a decade ago.
“There’s a lot of people still involved in the club that were there when I was there originally.
“So to be able to come back and lift a trophy with them would be something pretty special to be a part of, especially as my career kind of winds down as a player.
Early bird tickets are now available for the NPLNSW Men’s Grand Final.