Jade North and Michael Theo will reach significant career milestones when Brisbane Roar take on Perth Glory in their Hyundai A-League Round 20 away clash on Saturday, 20 February (8.40pm KO Qld time).
North will play his 300th game across the National Soccer League and Hyundai A-League while Theo will notch his 200th Hyundai A-League appearance.
Perth is one of six domestic clubs at which North has played his 169 Hyundai A-League and 130 NSL games.
North has 70 Hyundai A-League appearances for the Roar (77 across all competitions/ three goals).
He also played with Wellington Phoenix, Newcastle Jets, Sydney Olympics and Brisbane Strikers as well as stints overseas with Incheon United (South Korea), Tromso (Norway) and Consadole Sapporo (Japan).
“It’s been a good ride . . . this season has been great. We’re sitting in a good position at the moment. You’ve just got to enjoy every minute of it,” North said after training today.
The central defender is having a superb season and has played every minute of the 19 rounds so far.
He has scored twice this season and had his powerful cross (below) deflected into the goal for the Roar’s 69th minute equaliser against the Jets last Friday.
North says the key to his longevity has been a desire to keep improving and matching himself against younger players in the Roar squad.
“The young boys keep me young and keep me on my toes,” he said.
“There’s always room for improvement, every day we work hard in training and work harder in the games.
“We worked our socks off in training today. That’s something we take pride in and take into the games as well.”
Theo is on the brink of playing his 200th Hyundai A-League game.
The five-time Championship winning keeper has played 128 games for the Roar and 71 for Melbourne Victory.
After a injury-affected 2014-15 season and then time on the sidelines again earlier this season, Theo won his spot back in Round 16 and has played the last four games.
Theo (above, against Perth last season when he first injured his quad muscle) believes his time on the sidelines may even help extend his career.
“It has been a frustrating 12-15 month period but it is great to be amongst the boys and involved on game day again,” he said.
“Having that spell (on the sidelines) and doing all the right things off the field . . . and missing it so much, there’s that extra desire to get back bigger and better.”
The Roar players powered through the heat at training today with a high-tempo session that included games in both restricted space and full-field.
North said there was no way they would take Perth lightly, particularly given the Glory are chasing a fifth consecutive win for the first time.
“At the moment they’re one of the form teams of the competition,” North said.
“They have some good individual players we need to be aware of but we have to concentrate on ourselves and hopefully get a good result.”