While football supporters across the nation pay their respects this weekend to those who served, and serve, their country, Round 27 will also signal a farewell to a trio of Hyundai A-League greats.
Hyundai A-League legends who are set to draw the curtain on distinguished careers in 2019, like Alex Brosque of Sydney FC, Melbourne Victory’s Carl Valeri and Brendon Santalab of Perth Glory, will continue to strive towards bowing out on an even grander stage.
But, with finals football out of the question, Round 27 will be the last stop on the storied football journeys of three great champions of Australian football - Matt McKay, Henrique and Mark Bridge.
Passing the torch in Brisbane
Thursday marks the first time football is played in Queensland on ANZAC Day as Brisbane host Adelaide United. It also marks the last time Roar legend McKay will pull on the orange jersey.
McKay will be honoured alongside fellow fans’ favourite Henrique, who looks set to miss out with a groin injury, as the Roar wave farewell to two icons of their golden generation.
AFC Asian Cup winning Caltex Socceroo McKay led Brisbane to their first Hyundai A-League Premiership and Championship double in 2011 before departing, and then returning, to repeat the momentous feat in 2014.
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MATCH PREVIEW: Brisbane Roar take on Adelaide United in the ANZAC Day game
Henrique was a key contributor during those same campaigns and added a 2012 Championship in McKay’s absence. The Brazilian confirmed his place in Roar folklore by scoring the extra-time winning goal in the 2014 Grand Final against the Western Sydney Wanderers.
While it is the end of an era in Brisbane, Roar supporters will hope they are witnessing the beginning of a bright future with new coach Robbie Fowler set to be introduced at Suncorp Stadium.
An emotional farewell at ANZ Stadium
The Western Sydney Wanderers will run out for a final home game at ANZ Stadium, but the most emotional moment of their 2018/19 finale will no doubt be a farewell to ‘one of their own’, Mark Bridge.
A Western Sydney-native, Bridge scored the club’s first ever goal on his way to winning the Golden Boot and Premiers Plate in the club’s inaugural season. He also lifted championships with Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets, scoring for both teams in their Grand Final triumphs.
The much-loved Wanderer will forever be remembered for his role in the club's 2014 AFC Champions League triumph before going on to become their most capped player.
Against Melbourne Victory on Saturday, ‘King Bridge’ is set pull on the Red and Black jersey for the 141st and final time.
“The club will forever be in my heart and I will support the Wanderers until I die.”
“It has been a crazy journey at the Wanderers and there is no other club I would rather be at to hang up my Hyundai A-League boots,” said Bridge, who will spend next season in the NSW NPL 2 with Mounties Wanderers.
“I’ve shared some great memories at the club from scoring our very first goal, winning the Premiers Plate in our inaugural season and who could forget that Asian Champions League win.
“A dream of mine would be that one of my boys, seeing as I’ve had three of them so surely one can play, will end up putting on a Wanderers jersey.”