Hyundai A-League Team of the Week - Round 16

There was plenty of contrast in Round 16 of the Hyundai A-League running the range of emotions from high-scoring thrillers to tactical nail-biters.

There was Big Blue delight for league-leaders Sydney FC, while Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar and Wellington Phoenix also notched important wins. Elsewhere, Melbourne City and Perth Glory shared the spoils.

But who were the players that stood out to earn a spot in this round's Team of the Week?

Read on to find out who made it in our 4-3-3 formation.

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Goalkeeper

Stefan Marinovic (Wellington Phoenix)

Wellington Phoenix may have taken a deserved win against Newcastle Jets but they would not have been celebrating three points if it were not for Stefan Marinovic.

The Kiwi number one made six saves at Sky Stadium, two of which came deep into stoppage time with the visitors piling forward – an acrobatic fingertip save from Angus Thurgate and a stunning point-blank block from Kaine Sheppard.

The 28-year-old’s parry from Nigel Boogaard’s 77th-minute header denied the Jets skipper a dream return from injury as Ufuk Talay’s side returning to winning ways, primarily thanks to Marinovic.

REPORT: Davila hits double figures as Phoenix respond to beat Jets

WATCH: Marinovic produces a masterclass in the closing stages to deny the Newcastle Jets.
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Defenders

Scott Neville (Brisbane Roar)

Brisbane are now five matches unbeaten under Robbie Fowler and Hyundai A-League veteran Neville has been a solid presence in this run.

Against the Mariners, the Roar fullback defended stoutly against tricky spells of pressure and made an all-important goal-line clearance from Tommy Oar in the second half.

Although less effective going forward than Corey Brown on the opposite flank, Neville also won three tackles and 10 duels to help Brisbane to a rare away clean sheet.

REPORT: Brisbane enter top six as late own goal sinks Mariners

WATCH: Neville and Brisbane secure a vital 1-0 win over the Mariners

Ryan McGowan (Sydney FC)

Even when under the cosh, as the Sky Blues were at times in their 3-0 win over Melbourne Victory on Friday, Sydney rarely put a toe out of line as a defensive unit. Just look at the maturity, composure and expertise displayed by McGowan, who played 83 minutes of the Big Blue on a yellow card but could not have looked more in control.

Sydney's opponents hammered in 19 shots at AAMI Park but goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne was very rarely troubled, in part thanks to some superb defending from McGowan and woeful finishing from the hosts.

REPORT: Sydney FC go 11 unbeaten after swatting Victory aside

Ryan McGowan
Ryan McGowan was the backbone of Sydney's three-nil win over Victory

Jack Hendry (Melbourne City)

The on-loan Celtic centre back had barely shaken off the jet lag after flying from Scotland earlier last week before taking on Bruno Fornaroli, Diego Castro and a Perth team chasing a seventh win in a row.

Hendry was thrust straight into the heart of City's defence and the result was a very impressive rearguard showing from Erick Mombaerts' side. Hendry won all five of his duels, made four clearances and an interception to silence the reigning Premiers, and on the basis of his debut fixture his presence could go a long way to reinforcing a City defence often criticised for being too meek.

REPORT: City halt Glory's winning run but settle for frustrating draw

Jack Hendry
Hendry made a promising start to his loan spell with City by silencing Diego Castro and co.

Gregory Wuthrich (Perth Glory)

You could certainly not level the same accusation of a soft underbelly at Perth Glory and Gregory Wuthrich. Tony Popovic's side kept their fourth consecutive clean sheet with that 0-0 stalemate against City - it is their sixth shutout in seven, and it has been a remarkable 35 days since Perth last conceded.

Wuthrich has been outstanding during that run. 10 clearances against City underlined another commanding performance from the Swiss defender.

REACTION: Popovic lauds Perth defence as Glory go 35 days without conceding

WATCH: Wuthrich and Perth shut down City to keep their fourth straight clean sheet
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Midfielders 

Nikola Mileusnic (Adelaide United)

Simply put - the Reds' wide-man showed the value of being in the right position at Whitten Oval as he delivered a quick-fire double to lay the platform for his side's crucial win over fellow mid-tablers Western United.

He capitalised on Filip Kurto's parry to drive home the opening goal, then timed his supporting run superbly to net the spoils from a well-worked counter shortly after to double his tally.

But he wasn't done there - creating four chances for his side all told, in addition to winning all three of his tackles and winning six of 10 duels in a solid all round display.

REPORT: Reds prevail in see-sawing, seven-goal thriller

WATCH: Nikola Mileusnic at the double for Adelaide United

Cameron Devlin (Wellington Phoenix)

The Hyundai A-League's Player of the Month for December continues to grow in stature by the week even if Devlin and his Wellington side were not at their best in Friday's 2-1 win over Newcastle.

Regardless, the diminutive midfielder continues to show why he may just be Phoenix's most important player right now. Devlin made two tackles, eight duels, three clearances and five interceptions - he is everywhere for Ufuk Talay's men. 

Cameron Devlin


Alexander Baumjohann (Sydney FC)

A petulant red card in stoppage time soured what was arguably the German maestro's best performance in a Sydney shirt to date, and one too impressive to let that unnecessary scuffle with Leigh Broxham late on to disqualify Baumjohann from a place in this weekend's finest XI.

The attacker set up Adam Le Fondre's opener by leaving Victory defender Adama Traore in the dirt and a purposeful dart forward and timely release to the Englishman saw Kosta Barbarouses toe in Sydney's second - the kind of movement that suggests Steve Corica's pre-season signing from the Wanderers is truly beginning to approach top form.

Having instigated both Sydney goals, Baumjohann got in on the act himself by slamming home from close range, his first goal in Sky Blue colours.

REACTION: ‘I know the truth’ - Snakes fly but Barbarouses accepts role as Big Blue villain

WATCH: Baumjohann ices Sydney's three-nil win over Victory with his first goal in Sky Blue
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Forwards

Ulises Davila (Wellington Phoenix)

The Mexican magician once again proved that he is one of the Hyundai A-League’s most dangerous players in the final third.

Davila delivered a precision through ball which left substitute Jaushua Sotirio needing only one touch – his first touch – to give Wellington the lead. Then the 28-year-old showed his predatory instincts, pouncing on a deflected strike to grab the Phoenix winner.

Davila created two chances, took three shots at goal and won seven duels, to produce a complete, all-round display and grow his reputation as one of the competition’s most exciting players.

REACTION: ‘The boys dug deep’ - Talay praises resilient Phoenix

WATCH: Davila shows his killer instincts to clinch all three points for Wellington Phoenix.

Adam Le Fondre (Sydney FC)

Another excellent night at the office for the Englishman. Le Fondre sent Sydney on their way to a cruisey 3-0 victory by opening the scoring with a tap in, and his clever movement and delivery was on show in the build up to Kosta Barbarouses' second.

WATCH: Le Fondre nets his 14th goal of the campaign against Victory

Besart Berisha (Western United)

How do you mark your 200th game in the Hyundai A-League? A brace is not a bad way to go about it.

His side's stirring fightback against Adelaide United at Whitten Oval may have fallen agonisingly short but if it wasn't for the efforts of Berisha then they wouldn't have come close as he thrived in the attention of his milestone game to twice bring his side back into the contest.

His first goal showed the blend of touch and power that makes him one of the league's most exciting attackers, while his second - coming off the back of well-delayed run to the near post - showed his often overlooked patience off-the-ball.

WATCH: Besart Berisha delivers in his 200th Hyundai A-League game
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