Brisbane Roar defender Scott Neville is set to equal club legend Matt McKay’s Isuzu UTE A-League all-time appearance record when he runs onto the pitch on Friday night.
Neville is set to make his 272nd appearance in the Isuzu UTE A-League when the Roar faces the Western Sydney Wanderers.
And while he will be equal 13th on the all-time appearance list, the 33-year-old shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
“It’s a great achievement; throughout that time I’ve had some serious injuries and left Australia for a season,” Neville said.
“Obviously, someone of Matt Mckay’s calibre, not just how well he did for Brisbane Roar but for football in Australia, hopefully, there are many more games to come for me.
“I’m just loving football so if I can keep playing at the highest level I can keep playing at and feel good hopefully I can play as long as possible.”
Having first entered the league in 2008 with Perth Glory as a 19-year-old, the English-born defender would come on as an 81st minute substitute.
Neville would go on to have stints at the Newcastle Jets and Western Sydney Wanderers as well as a second spell at Glory before joining the Roar in 2019.
However, Neville’s career to date hasn’t been without its difficulties. Throughout his 15 seasons in the Isuzu UTE A-League, Neville has battled a number of injuries.
He had heart surgery ahead of the 2013/14 season after discovering an extra pathway to his heart, a catheter was run inside of him to his heart with an electric shock used to burn off the pathway.
Then in Round 9 of the season, while playing for the Newcastle Jets, Neville ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) but it wasn’t the only issue, as he had to wait for his medial ligament to heal before having surgery.
For Neville, keeping a positive mindset has been key in his ability to come back time and time again.
“With age, you become a bit smarter with what you do, how you prepare and recover from games,” he said.
“Tearing your ACL was a major one, that’s 9 months to a year out of the game but after speaking to the physiotherapist I knew I could use that as a time to build my body up.
“The scariest one was the heart surgery…once you hear you need heart surgery you kind of question if you ‘will be able to play again’, ‘how serious it is’ but lucky enough I managed to be playing within a few weeks.
“It’s all part of the journey, I think it’s hard pressed to find an athlete, in any sport who hasn’t had an injury. It’s just how you come back from it.”
Having spent four seasons with the Roar, Neville has been playing alongside a core group of players and believes that it is because the team has such a tight knit playing group it has helped the squad continue to grow.
“There is a big core group of the same players, obviously some players have left, some have moved on, but that backbone and tight knit group really means a lot and it helps us come game day,” Neville said.
The Brisbane Roar Isuzu UTE A-League squad host the Western Sydney Wanderers at Kayo Stadium tonight from 6:45pm AEST. Tickets can be purchased via Ticketek here.