Brisbane Roar captain Matt McKay will go into the record books when he leads his side out in Friday's season opener, becoming the first Roar player and sixth in Hyundai A-League history to play 200 matches for the same club.
The 33-year-old Socceroo is a born and bred Brisbane boy and a passionate Queenslander. Hear about the journey and his thoughts ahead of his 200th game at Suncorp Stadium this Friday night against Melbourne Victory. Click here to purchase tickets.
After playing in both the National Soccer League and the Hyundai A-League, can you believe the progress of football in Australia?
- "There’s only a handful of us left that played in the old NSL. The progression of the Hyundai A-League is immense. I’m very proud to still be playing and also proud to be playing at this great club."
Do you remember your Hyundai A-League debut? Can you recall details?
- "I can remember it, I actually did my knee in a pre-season game against Melbourne Victory on the Gold Coast and it was a 6-8 week injury and I’d just made the starting side. So, I had strapping on my knee and I came off about 60 minutes. I remember there was a really good crowd there that day. Looking back now, the team has changed so much. I’m still good mates with a lot of my old teammates from back then."
Did you think you would play 200 games for the Roar? Is it special to be the first player to do so?
- "I’ve worked really hard and to get to 200 games is big for me because those early seasons with only 21 games, it takes a while to build up those games. We’ve won some titles along the way which is the most important thing. It’s a big achievement, but I want to add a few more titles to bump up those statistics a little."
Having a young son Freddy now, what are your motivations?
- "He’s only seven months old so he won’t remember much but if he can remember a bit from my career that would be incredible for me. Corey Brown ( above left) is a great example – he was very young when his father Rod won the title with the Strikers, something like that would be awesome. I’d love to take him out on Suncorp Stadium and feel what the atmosphere is like."
Teel us a bit about your coaches at Brisbane Roar?
- Miron [Bleiberg] had so many stories, he could easily write a book. Frank [Farina] was a great man and manager, well respected and handled the squad very well. Ange [Postecoglou] changed my career through his style of play and I know it did for a lot of teammates too. Mike [Mulvey] was a great man manager and he won a title here which is special for the club. John [Aloisi] is a legend of the game, a coach that we all respect. He knows the game so well because he’s been there and done all this."
- "I like to be everyone’s friend and don’t exclude myself from anyone. Over the years there’s been players like Mitch Nichols, Massimo Murdocca, and Alex Brosque – there’s just so many and I’m good mates with a lot of the current squad now. The best part of being at our club is that the change room has always been full of great guys."
What’s your favourite moment in a Roar kit?
- "Favourite moment is definitely Erik Paartalu’s goal in our first Grand Final against Central Coast ( celebrating below) . Thomas Broich put the cross in, and that is by far the happiest moment of my career. There’s only a handful of us still here from that moment, but I think that will go down as the greatest Brisbane Roar moment."
- "There’s been a few. Players like Kevin Muscat and Ross Aloisi used to give me a hard time and then there’s really talented players like Steve Corica, Carlos Hernandez and Dwight Yorke who were really hard to handle."
Best player you’ve seen in the Hyundai A-League?
- "Local players like Aaron Mooy (below), Tom Rogic have really impressed me. Joel Griffiths used to give us a hard time playing for Newcastle too. There are heaps of great players in the league and that shows in the standard of the Hyundai A-League these days."
Why number 17?
- "James Donachie stole my #15 when I left and I was #17 for the national team so I took it. I’m happy with it, it’s an easy number to write on signatures."
Are you excited about taking on Melbourne Victory at Suncorp Stadium to launch the new season in your 200th games?
- "It’s a special game and for the club it’s important to have a home game to start the season and we’ll go out there in front of our great fans and hopefully come away with the three points."