MATTHEW Neal went searching for a new competitive outlet when he felt his football career reaching its end date. The long-time Old Collegians key position player decided to rejoin the lawn bowls fraternity three years ago, signing on with Western District Playing Area powerhouse Warrnambool. Neal, now 42, progressed to the club's division one ranks this season after winning a premiership in division two in 2022-23. He still manages to pull on his football boots too, helping out the Warriors' reserves team three times this year as it battled for numbers in the Warrnambool and District league. "It (bowls) is very different to footy - you can still walk the next day but hangovers are still the same," he joked. "It's easygoing, there's a social aspect and everyone's great to get along with. "It's laid-back but you still want to win." Neal, who works as a fencer, played lawn bowls about two decades ago with Christ Church and was keen to get back into the sport. "I needed to get a bit of competitiveness back into me and I finally gave up footy and had that bit of drive still to compete," he told The Standard during Warrnambool Gold's 54-52 win against City Gold on Saturday, December 9. "I played a couple of div one games last year but this is the first year I've been in div one full-time." Neal, who was a ruckman and centre half-forward during his playing days, coached Old Collegians' under 13 football side to a thrilling grand final win in September. Middle child Dony was part of the successful team. Dony is also playing lawn bowls and is part of Warrnambool's division three side. Neal, who is also dad to Reece, 15, and Sylvie, 2, would love to play bowls alongside Dony one day. "We'll see if he wants to play with me in the club pairs," he said. In other round nine weekend pennant division one games, Dunkeld Blue accounted for Dennington Jets 67-54, City Red won its top-four clash against Mortlake Blue 69-49, bottom-placed Warrnambool Blue scored its first win of the season, defeating Port Fairy Red 60-54.