Yellow cards, red cards and suspensions used to go hand-in-hand with Macleay Valley Rangers midfielder Kurt Riordan.
He was the fiery youngster who came through the grades and used to fall foul of the officials all the time.
It was rare for a match to go by without him entering the referee’s notebook.
“I was young, keen, and eager to get in and do my best,” he admitted.
Then he grew up, matured and while he’s still no saint, Riordan has a more measured approach to his football.
“I matured as I got older and became more of a team player and thought about how my actions could cost the team,” he said.
“Age has definitely mellowed me over the years.”
Football flows through the 25-year-old’s veins as a result of father Dean’s love of the game.
“My father was right into football,” he said.
“Growing up he went to Germany and played for NSW so it was in my blood from the get-go. I had a ball at my feet as soon as I could walk.”
Riordan started his football journey off with cross-town rivals Kempsey Saints before Rangers expanded into their juniors.
But he’s now committed to Macleay Valley.
“Macleay Valley is in my blood really,” he said.
Following the long-term foot injury to regular captain Chad Applegate, Riordan will now have to take on more of a leadership role in the second half of the Coastal Premier League season.
One thing is for certain – he’ll give it his all while he’s out on the field.
“I put my body on the line, I wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m no goal scoring talent, but I definitely give 100 percent,” he said.
Injuries appear to have derailed Rangers’ quest for the finals with up to six regular first graders currently on the sidelines.
“It motivates me to get the boys to get a bit of heart about them now. Keep fighting and not give up. We’ll keep turning up and keep progressing for next season,” Riordan said.