Good communication and reading the game well are the reasons why Sydney FC captain Alex Wilkinson has never been sent off in more than 500 games.
There's only one commodity scarcer than goals in Sydney FC captain Alex Wikinson's record, and that's the total absence of red cards in a senior career stretching back to 2002.
Wilkinson has scored just five goals in that time, the last in South Korea in August 2013, and you have to go back three years before that to find the most recent of the two goals he has scored in 286 A-League games.
But it's the fact that he has never been sent off in more than 500 club and international games since making his NSL debut with Northern Spirit in 2002 that stands out.
Even yellow cards are a relatively uncommon occurrence for the 35-year-old defender, who hasn't been booked in any of his 23 appearances across three competitions this season.
He hasn't ever been booked more than four times in a season, and can't recall ever incurring a suspension for accumulating too many yellow cards in a domestic campaign.
"I'm half aware of it," Wilkinson told AAP when asked about his excellent disciplinary record.
"I pride myself on the ability to read the game and as a defender, it definitely helps if you see how the play is unfolding before it happens, and I've been lucky enough to learn how to do that pretty well.
"A lot of the time, it gets yourself out of sticky situations if you can sort of see what's going to happen (in) a little bit.
"That and communication. I like to talk a bit on the field and try to organise the guys around me and in front of me.
"If you can do that well enough, sometimes it stops the ball even getting down to myself and the backline's end.
"You can prevent it even getting down there and then you don't have to be involved at all."
While he's worn the captain's armband occasionally in past seasons, Wilkinson has enjoyed the challenge of being full time skipper in 2019-20 following the retirement of long-term Sky Blues' leader Alex Brosque.
"I'm originally from Sydney so to be able to lead your home town club is a huge honour and not only that, but to be the captain of such a successful team is really humbling," Wilkinson said.
"The culture within our group makes it really easy to lead these boys.
"We've got a fantastic work ethic and a great togetherness, and all the boys get on so well.
"We've got lots of experience in that changing room as well, and it makes my job very easy so I consider myself extremely lucky."
Sydney FC were at the top of the A-League ladder on 48 points when the season was recently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. Melbourne City trail Steve Corica's men by eight points.