As retiring Brisbane Roar skipper Matt McKay sifted through the highest points of his 18-year career on Thursday, one memory was elevated above all others.
McKay, 36, lauded the appointment of former coach Ange Postecoglou at Brisbane as a moment that 'changed everything' for the iconic Queensland midfielder.
Under Postecoglou, who arrived at Roar in October 2009, McKay became the beating heart of the club's incredible Hyundai A-League Premiership and Championship double in 2010/11.
In that season, which culminated in their epic Grand Final comeback win against Central Coast Mariners in March 2011, Brisbane began to establish a legacy as one of the greatest club sides in Australian football.
“When Ange came in he changed everything for me personally, for my family and for the Brisbane Roar as well,” McKay said.
“The guys that were there when we had that amazing season… probably the highlight for me was Erik Paartalu’s header to equalise in that Grand Final.
“I wasn’t involved in any part of that cross, obviously Thomas Broich took the corner.
“For me that’s hands down the pinnacle for us in club football.”
McKay’s form for Brisbane that season had earned him a re-call for the Caltex Socceroos’ 2011 AFC Asian Cup campaign, in which the midfielder played a crucial role in Australia's run to the final, ultimately losing 1-0 to Japan.
He was also named PFA Player of the Year for an outstanding Hyundai A-League season, which allowed him to pursue overseas opportunities with Scottish Premiership giants Rangers, Korean club Busan IPark and Chinese outfit Changchun Yatai.
The Queensland Academy of Sport youth would go on to represent the Caltex Socceroos at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and won the 2015 AFC Asian Cup on home soil under Postecoglou.
He has made 270 Hyundai A-League appearances in total.
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