Battle for the Golden Boot: Who will finish as the season’s top scorer?
As intriguing as the race for the Premiership and places in the top six will be over the last five rounds, there’s also a massive battle brewing for the prestigious Golden Boot.
Sydney FC star Adam Le Fondre (14) had been atop of the standings for much of the season but was overtaken on the weekend by Wellington Phoenix’s Fijian flyer Roy Krishna (15).
Melbourne Victory attacker Kosta Barbarouses (13) moved within striking distance of the top with his double over the weekend, while Perth Glory hit man Andy Keogh (13) is also just a couple off the scoring summit.
Will Krishna continue his hot streak and pull away at the top? Or will one of the chasing pack mount a challenge in coming weeks?
Here’s a look at the main contenders for the Golden Boot after Round 22.
Roy Krishna (Wellington Phoenix) - 15 goals
The pacy Phoenix attacker has gone to another level under Mark Rudan and shot to the top of the tree with his goal in the 3-1 win over the Wanderers on Sunday.
With four goals in his last four outings, Krishna is peaking at the right time and his 15 for the campaign is already three better than his previous best tally of 12 in 2016/17.
He needs just two more this season to surpass Jeremy Brockie’s club record of 16 in a single campaign for Wellington.
And, although he'll miss Wellington's Round 23 clash with Newcastle Jets following Sunday's dismissal against the Wanderers, you would have to think on current form the Fijian is on track to finish as the competition’s top marksman for 2018/19.
Adam Le Fondre (Sydney FC) - 14 goals
It was never going to be an easy task filling the boots of ex-Sydney FC striker Bobo but Le Fondre has done an admirable job in his first season in the Hyundai A-League.
'Alfie' made a blistering start to the campaign and became the quickest player in Hyundai A-League history to reach the 10-goal mark - in just 11 games.
Le Fondre reached that mark in the Round 11 win over Central Coast Mariners but has managed to add just four more to his tally ever since.
But with the Sky Blues still to play three of the current bottom four sides in the run home, the Englishman could push Krishna all the way for top spot.
Kosta Barbarouses (Melbourne Victory) - 13 goals
A shift to a more central striking position has resulted in a prolific season for Melbourne Victory's Kosta Barbarouses.
While it took until Round 6 for Barbarouses to open his account, he’s netted consistently since to be right in contention with five games to go and currently sits on 13 for the season.
His double against Brisbane Roar on Saturday night means he has found the net five times in his last six appearances, and saw him eclipse his previous best total of 11 in 2010/11.
Fixtures against Perth Glory and Sydney FC in the next two rounds provide stern opposition, but with games against the leaky Mariners and Wanderers to come, the Kiwi flyer has every opportunity to build on his handsome total.
Andy Keogh (Perth Glory) - 13 goals
Even with Perth Glory sweeping all before them as they surge towards the Premiers’ Plate, Andy Keogh’s form has somewhat gone under the radar.
Yet with five rounds to play, he has still managed to be within two goals from the top of the scorer's charts.
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A deadly finisher in the box – as we saw with his pinpoint strike against Adelaide United on Friday night – Keogh looks fit and focused on kicking on from his tally of 13.
The Irishman is breathing down the neck of those above him and he’ll be motivated to try and add the Golden Boot trophy to a likely Premiers’ medal in coming weeks.
Ola Toivonen (Melbourne Victory) - 10 goals
Ola Toivonen arrived in the Hyundai A-League with a big reputation and plenty of expectation.
The giant Swede hasn’t disappointed.
Despite injury and illness restricting him to just 15 appearances, Toivonen has still got to double figures and is in sight of the leading contenders.
Considering he hasn’t scored since Round 16 – the Big Blue against Sydney FC on Australia Day, Toivonen has done well to be within range with five games to go.
If Victory can rediscover their mojo after their mini-slump, Toivonen stands a good chance of firing himself within a chance of the individual honour.
Craig Goodwin (Adelaide United) - 9 goals
Despite being the only real out-and-out winger amongst the contenders, Craig Goodwin has managed to stay right near the contenders for the Golden Boot.
A key figure in Adelaide United's march to the FFA Cup 2018 title as well, Goodwin has netted five times since the turn of the year to have the Reds on course for finals football.
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Although they have hit the skids in recent weeks – without a win in five games and without a goal in their last three – Goodwin has maintained an excellent level.
While he’s unlikely to seriously challenge with the competition’s big-hitters, if he can get to double figures it would be considered an excellent return for the three-cap Caltex Socceroo.