After taking to the field on Friday against Brisbane Roar, Mark Bridge has notched up yet another record in his illustrious career.
Name any Wanderers record and chances are that Mark Bridge holds it or has held it at some stage in his career.
He’s the man who netted the first ever Wanderers goal against Brisbane and then scored the club’s first goal at Wanderland in their first home victory.
He netted the first ever Wanderers hat-trick against Adelaide, finished his first season at the club as Golden Boot winner and until only recently, was the Wanderers top scorer of all time.
He’s a dual Hyundai A-League winner with Newcastle and Sydney, was the first player to score in two grand finals and is of course an AFC Champions League winner with the Wanderers.
He also remains the only player to win the Wanderers Medal for Player of the Season on two separate occasions.
And now, Mark Bridge can call himself the most capped Wanderers player in history.
Friday’s 2-0 win against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium marked his 126th appearance in Red & Black, putting him one ahead of good friend and former captain Nikolai Topor-Stanley.
In typical Bridge fashion, the number 19 celebrated the occasion by finding the net for what was his 57th Hyundai A-League goal.
It represented the latest chapter in what’s been a colourful Wanderers’ history for the boy from St Clair.
A Parramatta Eagles junior, Bridge began his professional career in Western Sydney with Parramatta Power in the NSL in 2003.
With the end of the NSL and the start of the Hyundai A-League, Bridge joined the Newcastle Jets for the league’s inaugural season.
He would spend a fruitful three seasons at the Jets, capping off his time in the Hunter by scoring the winning goal against the Central Coast Mariners in the 2008 Grand Final.
Bridge then moved to Sydney FC the following season where he became the first player to score in two Hyundai A-League Grand Finals with his headed goal against Melbourne Victory in the 2010 Final, which Sydney claimed on penalties.
Though with the creation of the Western Sydney Wanderers in 2012, Bridge was finally brought back home.
The attacker was unveiled as one of the club’s inaugural signings and was an integral part of the Red & Black’s record-breaking season.
He netted the club’s first ever goal in their first ever win, a 1-0 victory over Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium and also grabbed a goal in the club’s first ever home win, a 2-1 victory over Melbourne Heart.
In the Wanderers’ 6-1 thumping of Adelaide United in December 2012, Bridge also grabbed the club’s first ever hat-trick, achieving the feat in just 40 minutes.
Bridge started in 26 of the Wanderers’ 27 matches that season, netting 11 goals along the way as the Wanderers snared the Premiership and marched their way to the Grand Final at their first attempt.
His contribution to the Wanderers since that season has been nothing short of sensational, as he was a key part in the club’s two further Grand Final appearances and of course 2014’s historical Asian Champions League triumph.
It was no surprise then when a big money move to Thailand came calling last season.
Fortunately for Wanderers fans, Bridge’s spell in Asia was short-lived and it was inevitable that the club’s greatest ever servant would return.
At 32 years of age, Bridge has shown in recent weeks that he still has plenty to offer and his experience and winning mentality will be key as the Red & Black look to storm home in the back half of the season.