'Just getting to 20 games would have been an achievement': Bridge set to join Hyundai A-League's 250-club

He was a part of the Hyundai A-League's very first match back in 2005 and almost 14 years on Mark Bridge is on the cusp of a very special milestone.

The next time Bridge steps onto the pitch for the Western Sydney Wanderers, he will become just the 10th player to chalk up 250 games in the Hyundai A-League. 

It could happen as early as this Saturday night, with the Wanderers travelling to Gosford to take on the Central Coast Mariners in a match you can see LIVE and FREE on 10 Bold or tenplay (kick-off 7.50pm AEST).


If he doesn't feature against the Mariners, Bridge would then make his 250th appearance in front of the Wanderers' home fans at ANZ Stadium in Round 27 against Melbourne Victory.

Ahead of his milestone match, Bridge reflected on his journey through the Hyundai A-League since the very beginning, a career with its share of ups and downs.

“If I think about the beginning, if you think to yourself 'oh I’m going to get to 250 games', I mean just to get to 20 games would have been an achievement when I started," Bridge told the Wanderers' official website.

“I just kept plodding along and ended up here. It hasn’t always been easy, it’s been a bit up and down a fair bit as careers do.

"There’s form slumps, injuries, I mean all it takes is one coach not to like you and then you don’t play. It’s just things like that.

“It’s just about your commitment to the game and your commitment to your profession that you hold hope that it all ends up well and I’m one of those fortunate ones where it has turned out pretty well. "

It's been far better than that.

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Bridge has enjoyed plenty of success throughout his career, winning Hyundai A-League titles with Newcastle Jets (2008) and Sydney FC (2010) - scoring in both of those Grand Final wins -  as well as the Premiership and AFC Champions League with the Wanderers.

Amid all those wonderful memories and winner's medals, Bridge still remembers his debut match vividly.

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Mark Bridge playing for the Jets against Adelaide

"I can still see it in my head, Newcastle vs Adelaide up in Newcastle. It's funny that going back now 15 years, maybe more, that I can still remember it clear as day," he explains.

"It's things like that and it was pretty cool to be involved in the very first Hyundai A-League game, it's been a hell of a ride.

"But I mean in terms of reflecting on the stuff I've achieved, it still hasn't really sunk in yet.

"It probably will when I retire or when I'm telling my kids later in life, maybe then it will sink in how many things I've achieved and how big they were."

Bridge was part of the Wanderers' foundation squad and was fundamental in the club's very early success.

"The birth of the Wanderers meant a lot to players like me who are from Western Sydney and love Western Sydney," explained Bridge.

"At the start, it was difficult because you had no choice but to move. Even if you're playing at Sydney FC like I did, it was a hike to get in there and you don't have a connection to the city.

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Mark Bridge has become a fan favourite amongst Wanderers supporters

"To have a team out here, that your friends and family want to be part of as well is huge. "My family and friends, followed me everywhere, they went for all my teams but they have a sense of belonging at the Wanderers.

"It's massive and you can see even now that even though we've had a rough couple of years that everyone loves the club.

"It's such a big club and a big area that brings together so many cultures and nationalities into one family."