Welkom - Griffons flyhalf Louis Strydom says the team's Currie Cup First Division campaign has allowed the union to become more professional.
Strydom's move to the Griffons in 2013 saw his career go full circle.
He started his senior career at the Welkom-based union in 2001, and went on to play for the Blue Bulls (2004), Valke (2005-06), Golden Lions (2007-08), Free State Cheetahs (2009-11) and EP Kings (2011-12).
This season has been particularly special as he's guided the Griffons to the Currie Cup First Division final. His standout moment was the match-winning drop goal in the 45-43 semi-final win over the SWD Eagles in Welkom.
"That was one of my career highlights," Strydom told the MyPlayer website. "It's always nice when your moment decides the result. I've delivered a few match-winning kicks, but never in an important playoff.
"My next favourite moment that comes close to that was the Lions' 9-3 win over the Crusaders during the 2007 Super Rugby campaign, when I kicked all three penalties. A win over the Crusaders is always special."
Strydom credits the improved structures at the Griffons as the main reason for the team's surprise run into the Currie Cup First Division final, which will be played at the North West Stadium on Friday (October 17).
"If I had to compare the current structures at the Griffons to when I was first at the union, there is a massive improvement. The preparations during the week is much better. There's a professional approach to things, which is important," said Strydom.
"The senior players have also played key roles during the season. The young guys, especially in the First Divisions, just want to run the ball from all areas of the field. So our leadership and advice at training and games help these guys improve in all areas."
The Griffons will again have the opportunity to qualify for the Currie Cup Premier Division in 2015 when they play in the qualifying tournament, which Griquas won this year to advance.
Strydom admitted that the team focus is not on that yet, but added that opportunity of playing against the top teams will inspire him to carry on his lengthy career.
"We're all focused on the Currie Cup First Division final against the Valke, which is not an easy challenge. It will take a big team effort to win the tournament," said Strydom. "If we do, I think the okes will really be overjoyed. The opportunity to qualify for the Premier Division will be major for the union and the boys.
"I turn 34 soon, but I feel I can still offer more to the game and the Griffons. I want to help them become more competitive and improve as a team."