Five Hyundai A-League playmakers prepared to set pulses racing

From Fred to Thomas Broich and Alessandro Del Piero, the Hyundai A-League has a fine history of providing a platform for playmakers to strut their stuff.

High-quality creative schemers can transform competent teams into dangerous sides with swagger, and it appears the competition's coaches are putting their faith in some standout stars.

With new game-changers arriving and known quantities continuing to thrive, we assess five of the players that are ready to light up the 2018/19 Season.

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Dimitri Petratos

Can Petratos push on from his FIFA World Cup experience to feature at the upcoming AFC Asian Cup?

The 25-year-old burst into the national team at just the right time last season as he began to realise the potential long associated with his twinkle-toed, off-the-cuff playing style.  

At the heart of Newcastle Jets' stunning surge to the Grand Final, Petratos created more chances than any other player in the competition and will only get better under Ernie Merrick's mentorship.

The nimble attacking midfielder is comfortable unpicking defences either as a traditional no.10 or, thanks to his two-footedness, from wide positions.

Keisuke Honda

It's impossible to overlook the off-season's highest-profile recruit to date.

The Japan legend, with his raking left foot and relentless attacking mindset, has the class on the ball to quickly become a key ally for fellow Melbourne Victory new boy Ola Toivonen.

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Honda has been a creator wherever he's gone and in particular during his most recent stint in Mexico, where he laid on seven assists in 29 league appearances for Pachuca.

Departed winger Leroy George teed up nine more goals than any other Hyundai A-League player last term, illustrating the kind of influence Victory's new marquee can have.

Luke Brattan

A true deep-lying playmaker in the Andrea Pirlo mold, Brattan is a joy to watch in full flight.

The Melbourne City man certainly found top form over the second half of the 2018/19 campaign as he engineered his team's route to within one match of a maiden Grand Final berth.

Brattan, who broke into the Hyundai A-League as part of Ange Postecoglou's all-conquering Brisbane Roar team, has previously noted Manchester United great Paul Scholes as an early idol.

It's fitting, then, that he now stars under ex-United youth guru Warren Joyce, a coach that appears to have deciphered how to extract the holding midfielder's best.

Luke Brattan Melbourne City
Brattan is the fulcrum in City's midfield.

Milos Ninkovic

How do you replace the reigning Johnny Warren Medal Winner? Having the previous one in your ranks is a good start.

While much fanfare has centred on new arrival Siem de Jong, the Netherlands international's greatest gift to Sydney FC might simply be lightening the load on Milos Ninkovic.

Now 33, the intelligent midfielder has pulled the strings in the Sky Blues' back-to-back Premiers Plate successes and there is scant evidence to suggest that will change with Steve Corica, a man who played in a manner not unlike Ninkovic, now at the helm.  

Watch for him to return to his very best in tandem with De Jong.

Alexander Baumjohann

If Ninkovic is even a step off the pace, Alexander Baumjohann could well become the Harbour City's silky new scene-stealer.

Western Sydney Wanderers boss Markus Babbel wanted a playmaker capable of injecting match-winning class and looks to have found the perfect fit in his compatriot.

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Baumjohann, 31, has joined after a spell in Brazil, bringing with him Bundesliga experience at Bayern Munich, Schalke and Hertha Berlin.

At home in attacking midfield, his talents have been endorsed by Jupp Heynckes and should give Wanderers an ability to unlock defences not seen since Shinji Ono.

alexander baumjohann
Alex Baumjohann