Where are they now: Every A-League Men club’s first ever goalscorer

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Ever wondered where your A-League Men club’s first ever goal scorer is today? Then you are in luck.

It is time to head back to where it all began for your beloved A-League Men side, as we look back at each club’s first ever goalscorer.

For the purposes of this list, we will be looking at the current A-League Men teams and observing which player scored the first goal in a competitive fixture for the club.

Disclaimer: Not every person on this list has maintained an active presence in the public eye over recent years. As such, some will simply be based on the most recent information available.

Adelaide United: Carl Veart

The scorer of the first ever A-League goal, Veart simultaneously opened the account for Adelaide United. Scoring just 19 minutes into the Reds’ clash with Newcastle Jets, Veart’s goal came at the tail-end of his career at 35 years of age. After a couple of seasons in the ALM, Veart went on to play a handful of games for Adelaide City in the NPLSA, before retiring and pursuing his career in coaching. Veart has worked his way through the coaching ranks at Adelaide and is currently the head coach of the senior men’s team.

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Brisbane Roar: Alex Brosque

Despite being synonymous with Sydney FC, Brosque holds the honour of scoring Brisbane Roar’s first ever A-League Men goal, doing so in the 80th minute for the then-Queensland Roar against New Zealand Knights in 2005. Brosque was at the beginning of his career, and after just one season in Queensland headed south to join Sydney, where he would go on to make over 200 appearances across his career. After 21 Socceroos caps, spells in Japan and the UAE, and 67 goals for Sydney, Brosque retired in 2019. Today, Brosque can be seen and heard as part of Channel 10’s coverage of Australian football.

Central Coast Mariners: Noel Spencer

The first player outside the current Australian football mainstream on the list, Spencer’s goal was the second ever in the ALM, coming just under an hour after Veart’s. Spencer scored five more times for the Mariners, before playing 24 games with the Jets to finish his top-flight career. Spencer went on to star for Dapto Dandaloo Fury for several seasons in his native Illawarra Premier League, including a final season in which he led the side as player-coach to a grand final win. Today, Spencer appears to have removed himself from the spotlight, though the Mariners’ goal of the year award continues to be named in his honour.

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Macarthur FC: Mark Milligan

The most recent goal on this list is Milligan’s 72nd minute winner against Western Sydney Wanderers in Macarthur’s first ever game. Milligan’s time at Macarthur signalled the end of his illustrious career. Since drawing a close to his playing days, Milligan appeared to be involved in a succession plan for the Macarthur coaching role, although has since joined Channel 10’s coverage of Australian football instead.

Melbourne City: Rutger Worm

Perhaps the most obscure player on this list, retired Dutch winger Worm was the first player in the then-Melbourne Heart shirt to score a goal for the side. Worm’s goal came just before half-time in Heart’s third ever game. After 46 games with the MeLbourne side, Worm moved on to play in Thailand as well as returning to his native Netherlands. Worm was most recently an assistant coach at fourth-tier Dutch side VV DOVO Veenendaal.

Note – the real answer here is Ben Kantarovski, who scored an own-goal whilst playing for the Jets in Heart’s second-round game.

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Melbourne Victory: Archie Thompson

Who else could it be but Victory’s all-time leading goalscorer? Thompson scored in Victory’s first ever game, an equaliser away to Sydney, which would prove to be the first of 90 league goals with the club. After playing his final game for Victory in 2016, Thompson featured in short spells for NSW and Victorian clubs, as well as making an appearance for fifth-division Spanish side Racing Murcia. Thompson has most recently been seen starring on reality TV cooking shows, alongside his regular features on Channel 10’s programming.

Newcastle Jets: Ante Milicic

The Jets’ first ever goal came in round 2 of the inaugural A-League season against their arch-rivals the Mariners. Milicic’s 25th minute goal was the opening F3 derby goal in A-League history. After a season with Newcastle, Milicic joined Queensland Roar for two seasons, after which his career concluded with state-league teams and Shahzan Muda in Malaysia. Milicic has since gone on to forge a successful coaching career, most prominently with the Matildas, before joining Macarthur as their inaugural head coach in 2020.

Perth Glory: Adrian Caceres

Argentine-born Caceres scored Perth’s first ever ALM goal as an equaliser against Victory in their second game in the competition. The goal would prove to be Caceres’ only one in the A-League for Perth, before playing and scoring for Victory, Central Coast, and Wellington. Most of the remainder of Caceres’ career was spent in NPLWA, alongside brief stints in Thailand and Indonesia.

Sydney FC: Dwight Yorke

A diving header was Sydney’s first ever goal, scored by one of their most famous ever names in Yorke. The opener against Victory was one of seven he would score for the Sky Blues, before returning to the UK to finish his career with Sunderland. Since then, despite becoming qualified as a coach, Yorke is yet to undertake his first major role in management, having only been assistant manager with his native Trinidad and Tobago national team. Instead, he has since found work as a pundit in the UK.

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Western Sydney Wanderers: Mark Bridge

Although they would go on to win the premiership in their first season, Western Sydney did not in fact score their first A-League goal until round four of the 2012/13 season. On that occasion, it was former Socceroo Bridge who scored the only goal in Wanderers’ win over Brisbane. Bridge would go on to become Western Sydney’s all-time leading goalscorer. Since finishing his professional career in 2019, Bridge signed for NPLNSW 2 side Mounties Wanderers FC, before dropping down into the local leagues in Sydney’s west.

Wellington Phoenix: Daniel

Brazilian forward Daniel was the first-ever A-League goal scorer for Wellington, having done so against Victory in Wellington’s first game in 2007. The goal came just five minutes before Shane Smeltz doubled the Phoenix’s tally. Daniel would make more than 100 appearances for the Nix over the next six years, scoring 35 goals. Daniel finished his career in Thailand and has most recently featured in a legend’s game for the Phoenix.

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Western United: Besart Berisha

A decent way to finish with the A-League Men’s all-time leading goalscorer, Berisha also opened Western’s account in their 1-0 win away to Wellington back in 2019. Berisha’s time at Western was right at the end of his career in Australia, having become a legend with Brisbane and Victory. Berisha announced his retirement at the start of the year since which time he appears to be enjoying some time out of the spotlight.

Feature Image Credit: Jordan Trombetta

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Oscar Rutherford
Oscar Rutherford
Sports tragic studying Law/Arts at Monash University. Second-best paid Oscar working in football who has been to China.

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