With his showing in last week’s Sydney Derby, Michael Thwaite became the 27th player in Hyundai A-League history to notch up 200 appearances.
Nearly 16 years ago, a young Michael Thwaite made the switch from Cairns to Sydney in the hope of realising his footballing dream.
Six seasons abroad, 13 international caps and 200 Hyundai A-League appearances later, the now 34-year-old Thwaite can say with certainty that dream has been realised.
After turning out for his 17th Hyundai A-League match in Red & Black last Sunday, Thwaite became just one of the handful of players to have reached the double century mark.
It’s been quite the journey for the towering central defender, who began his professional footballing journey in Western Sydney with the Marconi Stallions in 2002.
After the collapse of the National Soccer League, Thwaite opted to try his hand abroad and signed with FC Naţional Bucureşti in Romania.
Thwaite spent two seasons there before securing a move to Wisła Kraków in Poland where he would spend another two seasons.
A brief stint in Norway would follow before Thwaite returned to Australian shores with Melbourne Victory in 2008.
Thwaite, who by now was part of the Socceroos set-up, had an immediate impact at the Victory, winning the double in his debut season in the Hyundai A-League.
Thwaite was then pried away from the Victory by Gold Coast United, where the defender would spend the next three seasons, winning the club’s Player of the Year award in the 2010/11 season.
When Gold Coast folded, Thwaite moved west to Perth Glory where he enjoyed four seasons, again winning the club’s Player of the Year award in the 2013/14 season.
A fruitful year in China came next, where Thwaite made 25 appearances and scored 3 goals with club Liaoning Whowin before Tony Popovic persuaded his former teammate to return to the Hyundai A-League with the Wanderers.
In a season of mixed results so far, Thwaite has been one of the Red & Blacks most consistent performers.
He managed to shrug of a hamstring injury early in the season and has now started 17 games, firmly establishing himself in the heart of defence and emerging as one of the leaders in the squad.
On Sunday, he’ll face the club where he notched up 85 of those 200 appearances in a crucial game that carries finals implications for both clubs.
Where either side ends up at the end of the regular season is anyone’s guess, though one thing’s for certain – if the Wanderers are to make something of this season, they’ll need Thwaite to be at his very best.