Wilkinson Hits Another Record Milestone – Sydney FC
Sydney FC Captain Alex Wilkinson will hit another major milestone in the Sky Blues semi-final, second leg clash with Melbourne City at AAMI Park.
The defender is already Australia’s most decorated footballer with five A-League Premierships, three A-League Championships, two K-League titles as well as an FFA Cup and Asian Cup winners medal.
On Friday he will become the first player in A-League history to play in 30 Finals Series matches.
It’s an achievement made more remarkable by the fact the next best hasn’t even reached 20 games!!
That’s 11 more than every other A-League player in history and achieved despite three seasons outside of the competition playing in Korea and China.
On hearing of the incredible achievement Wilkinson reacts in his usual modest and self-deprecating manner.
“I wasn’t really aware of it,” he says. “It’s an honour to have played that many big games and I’m lucky to have played in some successful teams.
“It’s more a reflection on teams in general and playing with great players as opposed to an individual, but for sure it is something to be proud of.
“It will be something to look back on when I finish that I managed to play in a lot of big games that mattered over the years.
“The ones in the early days are starting to get a little bit foggy, but there are a lot of good memories.”
The semi-final currently stands level at 1-all after the first leg between City and the Sky Blues, with a spot in the Grand Final the prize for Friday’s winner.
And having played in 30 of them, Wilkinson is well-aware of the extra emphasis and excitement of playing in Finals games.
“I think the cut-throat nature, the atmosphere, the do-or-die winner goes through, loser goes home and the added pressure all make Finals Series games a little more exciting and fun to play in.
“It has the extra edge a lot of regular season games don’t have.
“Now getting older you really cherish the moments because you realise the opportunity to win trophies doesn’t come along every year.
“It’s important you don’t take these moments for granted and that is what motivates me.”
Wilkinson also leads the way in A-League Grand Final appearances on seven ahead of the next best on five.
He would love to be able to extend it to eight.
“It would be great if we could go down to Melbourne to get a result and get through,” the 16 capped Socceroo added.
“We are in good form and there is a really good vibe around the place.
“The boys are in a good head space and full of confidence after remaining unbeaten for seven or eight games.
“We’ll give it our best shot and would love to be able to qualify for another Grand Final.”
As for any retirement, Wilkinson is still making up his mind.
“I’ll wait and see what happens over the next couple of weeks and once the season is done and dusted, I’ll see how everything is and make a decision.”
Sky Blues midfielder Luke Brattan and ex-Sydney FC shot-stopper Danny Vukovic will both join Melbourne Victory’s Leigh Broxham in second place on 19 Finals Series appearances over the course of the weekend.