Cornthwaite's Wanderers exit more about money than coach - Bridge
Robbie Cornthwaite's departure from Western Sydney had more to do with the riches of Asian football than his relationship with coach Josep Gombau, according to Mark Bridge.
Wanderers striker Bridge has lamented the loss of his "great captain" Cornthwaite, who joins Malaysian side Perak TBG having been benched for multiple A-League games this season by Gombau.
Cornthwaite was rumoured to have been unhappy under Gombau's regime but has denied his exit was over a fallout with the coach, who he said expressed a desire for him to stay.
Bridge believes the time was right for the veteran defender to seek an opportunity elsewhere.
"I'm pretty sure him and the Wanderers were in discussions for a new deal. I don't think it's bad blood between him and Josep," Bridge told Sky Sports Radio on Wednesday.
"The A-League just can't compete with the Asian contracts.
"He's coming to the end of his career. He needs to do what's best for him and his family and he feels that's the best option. We wish him luck.
"He's going to be a big loss. He is a great captain, a great leader and he's a great guy in the dressing room."
Cornthwaite joins Jacob Melling and Jumpei Kusukami in departing recently as Gombau reshapes his squad, bringing in Marcelo Carrusca.
The Wanderers' season was in the doldrums before their current four-game unbeaten streak saw them rise to sixth.
Bridge said it had taken time to adjust to Gombau's game plan after the Spaniard replaced the long-serving Tony Popovic in November.
"We're still learning the way the new coach wants to play," Bridge said.
"It looks like it's starting to move in the right direction. There's still a lot of improvement to come. I'm sure the further we go on, the better it's going to get.
"You go from a coach like Popa, who's very strict, very disciplined in the way he does things ... you change that to pretty much his opposite in Josep, where he's very relaxed.
"It was a difficult period, but it seems like we've come out of that, which is good."