We’re down to the last third of the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Season and the golden boot race is one of the most hotly contested in recent memory.
Melbourne Victory star Besart Berisha leads the way with 14 goals, with cross-town rival Bruno Fornaroli of City just two back.
Fornaroli’s 25 goals was the magic figure last season and with the goals raining-in all season, will someone get close to that mark again this time around?
We take a close look at the contenders heading into the last nine rounds.
Besart Berisha (Melbourne Victory, 14 goals)
It’s been a big season already for Bes, breaking Archie Thompson’s record to become the Hyundai A-League’s greatest-ever scorer. If not for three missed penalties he’d have even more to his name.
With Rojas, Troisi and Ben Khalfallah providing the ammunition, you’d expect him to get plenty more on the run in to the Finals Series. It’s been five seasons since Berisha won the golden boot, could this be his year?
Bruno Fornaroli (Melbourne City, 12 goals)
The Uruguayan hasn’t quite had the same devastating impact as last season but you wouldn’t rule him finishing the campaign with a bang. He misses this weekend through suspension so has eight games to make his charge as City also look to lock up a top four spot.
Marco Rojas (Melbourne Victory, 10 goals)
Rojas has not only scored a stack of goals but has provided nine for his teammates as well. The ‘Kiwi Messi’ is in a real purple patch of form right now. With more than half Victory’s games against sides currently outside the top six, could Rojas keep his good run going all the way to the top of the standings?
Roy Krishna (Wellington Phoenix, 9 goals)
It took a little while for the Fijian whiz to get going but once he did he’s been a standout for the Nix. Is arguably enjoying his best season in the yellow and black and if Wellington is to make the finals, his goals over the next two months will be pivotal.
Alex Brosque (Sydney FC, 9 goals)
After an injury-disrupted 2015/16 Season, Brosque looks fit, hungry and thriving in the Sky Blues’ all-conquering side. And the goals have been flowing for the 33-year-old attacker. Could the Sydney skipper be in line for a Caltex Socceroos recall for March’s qualifiers?
Andy Keogh and Adam Taggart (Perth Glory, both 8 goals)
The Glory strike duo have struck up a sensational partnership over the last couple of months, with Kenny Lowe’s side now eyeing off a top-four spot. With Diego Castro pulling the strings, they are getting plenty of opportunities to make a charge for the leaders over the next nine games.
Jamie Maclaren (Brisbane Roar, 8 goals)
‘Macca’ hasn’t scored as prolifically as he did last season but is still the main man for Roar. If anyone from outside the top five can get on a roll and fly up the standings, the Caltex Socceroo striker could be the man.
Brendon Santalab (Western Sydney Wanderers, 8 goals)
The Hyundai A-League’s ultimate super-sub delivered from the start against Wellington last weekend, bagging a brace. Has only started six out of 14 appearances this season, making his goal return even more impressive.
Roy O’Donovan (Central Coast Mariners, 8 goals)
The Irishman is enjoying leading the line for this young Mariners squad, and his goals have been vital. With the pace of Pain, Buhagiar and Ferreira stretching defences, O’Donovan is cashing in regularly.
Andrew Nabbout (Newcastle Jets, 7 goals)
We’re running out of superlatives to describe the youngster’s breakout season in the Hunter. Has always had talent but had added a real consistency and eye for goal under Mark Jones. If the Jets are to play finals for the first time in seven years, he’ll be key to that.
Milos Ninkovic (Sydney FC, 7 goals)Arguably the best player in the competition this season, ‘Ninko’ can’t be ruled out if he can carry his form right through the 27 rounds. As well as his excellent goal return, he has a joint league-high nine assists.