15 years of the Hyundai A-League: 7 current players who were there in the beginning

The Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Season is a milestone one, marking 15 years since the competition began.

To celebrate the occasion, over the next month a-league.com.au will be reliving all of the special moments of the Hyundai A-League era.

Today, we highlight the players who will feature in the upcoming campaign that were also there in the first season of the competition in 2005/06.

15 YEARS CELEBRATION: Milestone season for the Hyundai A-League
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Keep an eye on the Hyundai A-League’s official website and social media channels over the coming weeks as we shine a spotlight on the most memorable moments of the past 15 years.

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Nigel Boogaard

When you think of players synonymous with the Newcastle Jets in recent years, you immediately think of skipper Nigel Boogaard.

But the tough-tackling defender actually started his Hyundai A-League career with F3 Derby rivals Central Coast Mariners.

Boogaard spent five seasons in Gosford before switching to Adelaide United for another five years, winning the FFA Cup in 2014 with the Reds.

He has become an integral member of the Jets since return to his home town in 2015, helping the club reach the 2018 Hyundai A-League Grand Final.

Then and now: Nigel Boogaard
Then and now: Nigel Boogaard

Alex Wilkinson

Wilkinson affectionately earned the nickname ‘Mr Central Coast’ during his time with the Mariners, which began in the Hyundai A-League's inaugural season.

‘Wilko’ would go on to play almost seven seasons with the club, with the majority of his 172 appearances as captain.

After three successful years in the K-League with Jeonbuk, Wilkinson returned to the Hyundai A-League and had a short stint with Melbourne City.

But the 16-cap Caltex Socceroos defender has enjoyed most success over the last three years with Sydney FC, winning two Championships, two Premierships and an FFA Cup title.

Then and now: Alex Wilkinson
Then and now: Alex Wilkinson

Liam Reddy

Reddy will remember the inaugural season of the Hyundai A-League better than most, with the then Newcastle Jets shot-stopper the man who conceded the competition’s first-ever goal to Adelaide United’s Carl Veart.

And it’s been an incredible journey for Reddy ever since, that has seen him on the receiving end of a number of milestone goals over the next 14 years.

Reddy, who turns 38 on Thursday, has featured for seven clubs during that time including Brisbane Roar, Wellington Phoenix, Sydney FC, Central Coast Mariners, Western Sydney Wanderers and his current club Perth Glory.

Then and now: Liam Reddy
Then and now: Liam Reddy

Vince Lia

The Shepparton-born midfielder started out with Melbourne Victory in the first two seasons of the competition, playing 24 games and winning one title.

But Lia is best known for his time in Wellington with the Phoenix, making almost 200 appearances in a decade with the Kiwi outfit.

Still going strong at 34, Lia is about to head into his third season at Adelaide United, where he helped the club win last year’s FFA Cup by beating Sydney FC in the final.

Then and now: Vince Lia
Then and now: Vince Lia

Glen Moss

One of two New Zealanders who are still playing from that inaugural season, Moss is seemingly getting better with age.

Moss played for the New Zealand Knights in the 2005/06 campaign, playing nine games for the side that ultimately ended the season in last place.

Since then Moss – now 36 – has gone on to play for Wellington Phoenix (in two separate stints), Melbourne Victory, Gold Coast United and now the Newcastle Jets, where he is Ernie Merrick’s no. 1.

Then and now: Glen Moss
Then and now: Glen Moss

Tarek Elrich

It says a lot about the character and ability of Elrich that he has been a firm favourite at every Hyundai A-League club he has played at.

His career started in the Hunter with the Newcastle Jets, with the highlight of his seven season, 134-game, stint with the club coming when they won the Championship in 2007/08.

Elrich was a foundation member of Western Sydney Wanderers in 2012/13 as the club won the Premiers’ Plate in their debut campaign, before spending five years in Adelaide where he won a Championship, Premiership and FFA Cup.

Now 32, Elrich will head into the 2019/20 Season as a key part of Markus Babbel’s Wanderers squad returning to their spiritual home at Parramatta.

Then and now: Tarek Elrich
Then and now: Tarek Elrich

Andrew Durante

While things didn’t start the best for Durante – he suffered serious broken leg just prior to the inaugural season – he’s gone on to enjoy a wonderful career in the competition.

Durante played the first three seasons of the Hyundai A-League with Newcastle Jets, winning the Joe Marston Medal as the player of the match in the 2008 Grand Final win.

A move to Wellington Phoenix followed and this is where the New Zealand international established himself as a Hyundai A-League legend.

He would go on to play 11 seasons with the club, most of those as captain while amassing 273 games in the Black and Yellow stripes.

The 37-year-old, who holds the record for most Hyundai A-League appearances with 313, will head into next season as part of the inaugural squad for competition newcomers Western United FC.

Then and now: Andrew Durante
Then and now: Andrew Durante