Col Curran recalls playing juniors for New Lambton South over at Alder Park.
His ventures into the senior ranks included Adamstown and Maitland before a decorated career including trials at Manchester United and Socceroos representation at the 1974 World Cup.
Now the 70-year-old, who enjoys watching his grandson Vincent run around for the Rosebuds under 9s, has gone full circle with Northern NSW Football naming the Heritage Cup player-of-the-final medal in his honour.
“It’s an honour and I never thought something like this would happen,” Curran, more affectionately known by his nickname Bunny, told the Newcastle Herald at Thursday’s announcement.
“But I’m really proud of it and I’d like to thank Northern NSW for still thinking of me. There’s a lot of people that could be remembered.”
The second edition of the pre-season competition ranges across Northern’s top-three divisions, featuring nine clubs with more than 100 years of continuous history, and kicks off Friday.
Representatives from newcomers New Lambton and Dudley Redhead, as well as inaugural members Weston, Edgeworth, Lake Macquarie, Adamstown, Wallsend, Cessnock and Maryland Fletcher gathered for Thursday’s official launch.
The event was held at Lambton Park, the same site where a plaque marks the Hunter’s first game played between South Lambton (Hamilton and other areas) and North Lambton (Minmi area) in 1885.
“Meeting here carries extra significance,” Curran said.
“Football here goes back 100-odd years and I’ve been apart of it, my great-great-grandfather was apart of it with the Minmi Rangers and now it’s up to these young boys today to carry on and do well.”
Curran will help select and then present the new best and fairest award from Sunday’s decider at Jack McLaughlin Oval (4:30pm).
“I’ll be looking for a busy, constructive player,” he said.
“And someone whose not frightened of shooting, because that’s the only way you score goals.”
Pool matches will be held at Weston on Friday night and Saturday. Adamstown will also play host on Saturday. Cessnock and Edgeworth take over duties on Sunday morning.