Matt Thompson has no plans to retire anytime soon and showed just why in Maitland's crucial 3-2 victory over Valentine on Saturday.
The former Jets captain and Socceroo will celebrate his 37th birthday on Sunday as he tries to help the NNSW NPL premiership favourites to victory over Rosebud at Adamstown Oval.
A win will lock in a finals spot for the Magpies and put them in the box seat to finish first with a last-round clash against the Jets Youth, whose senior team play Edgeworth in the FFA Cup round of 16 just four days earlier.
Last Saturday at Cooks Square Park, Thompson scored twice, including the 94th-minute winner, to take the Magpies to the top of the table. He also had a quality finish denied for offside.
It was an inspirational effort from the veteran, who was starting in his third game in six days after easing his way back from a mid-season calf tear that sidelined him for two months.
"About three or four minutes before he gets the winner, he's on his knees in the middle of the park. He's just gone," Maitland coach Mick Bolch said. "He was spent, so to make the effort he did to score the winner was great."
In his fifth season at Maitland, Thompson was keen to play on in 2020.
"Other than having dramas with the calf, I haven't had an issue this year at all," Thompson said.
"I took my time to come back because we obviously didn't want to come back too early and stuff it up again.
"I feel great, so I have every intention of going around again next year."