When Perth Glory secured the A-League Premiers Plate with two weeks of the season still to play, Australia’s stats guru Andrew Howe validated the average age of Perth’s on field players was an average 30.6 years, making them the oldest team in any national league season.

But that was then, and this is now, and in the final round of the 2018/19 regular season, it was in fact youth as opposed to experience that headlined this weekend’s milestones (notwithstanding Perth’s final day demolition of Wellington Phoenix…)

The teenage milestone makers were centre to Melbourne City’s 5-0 thrashing of Central Coast Mariners last Friday night, as Idrus Abdulahi became the second youngest player to appear in the competition, at just 15 years and 216 days.  

His appearance as a second half substitute – and his performance – became the major headline of an action-packed final weekend on the eve of the finals series.


Abdulahi made his debut against the Mariners at AAMI Park, in a match in which six teenage substitutes entered the contest; the most teenage substitutes ever used in an Australian national league game. Abdulahi – who in the A-League era is second only to Teeboy Kamara in terms, who became the youngest debutant in 2011 – joined the Mariners’ 18-year-olds Dylan Ruiz-Diaz, Lewis Millar and 19-year-olds Ramy Najjarine, Connor Metcalfe and Peter Kekeris – as the game’s teenage substitutes.

Ethopian-born Abdulahi – a year 10 student at Maribyrnong College –  played a role in the final goal of the night, which turned out to be Najjarine’s first for City’s senior side.

“I was going to cry when Ramy scored that one. The gaffer told me to get that ball, I did a one-two with Lachie [Wales], so I am very happy. I was training with the first team the whole week and the gaffer told me I might get a chance and to be ready. I thought I was dreaming, I thought I was in my bedroom last night. I was tapping myself the whole game. Jamo [captain Scott Jamieson] looked after me, told me where to be, the team really helped me out.”

Speaking of substitutes, Brisbane Roar’sHenrique – who last week announced his departure from Brisbane Roar – now holds the record for the most goals as a substitute, with 20. 

And outgoing Perth Glory striker Brendan Santalab, who will retire following Perth Glory’s finals campaign, now holds the record for most substitutes’ appearances. With the regular season concluding, Wellington Phoenix’s Roy Krishna finished the campaign as the outright leading goal scorer. With 18 goals, Krishna finished two goals clear of his nearest contender, Adam Le Fondre (16 goals).

In addition,Craig Goodwin ended the regular season with nine assists, finishing one above the impressive Matt Millar and Melbourne Victory’s James Troisi, who both had eight. Meanwhile, Diego Castro was named Fox Sport’s Alex Tobin Medal Winner and teammate Liam Reddy held the most clean sheets of the season with 12.