Hyundai A-League Team of the Week: Round 19
Round 19 of the Hyundai A-League has come to a close and we've made the tough calls on the most impressive players of the weekend.
The latest Team of the Week has been assembled into a 4-2-3-1 formation with plenty of appreciation for the big victories managed by Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory.
Do you agree with our selections?
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Filip Kurto (Wellington Phoenix)
Back in the starting side after missing last week through illness, the impressive Pole was a huge reason why the Phoenix got a valuable point against Victory.
Kurto made a string of excellent saves – especially in the first-half – but his one-handed stop to keep out Kenny Athiu's deflected strike after the break was top-drawer!
Continues to justify Mark Rudan's decision to use up a visa spot on a gloveman.
Tate Russell (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Has seamlessly stepped in for Josh Risdon at right-back and, on the strength of his performance against Adelaide United, deserves to stay there for the foreseeable future.
Russell, making just his eighth start in the competition, looked an accomplished Hyundai A-League player at Coopers Stadium.
His energy up and down the flank led to him topping Western Sydney's pass count in the shock 3-1 victory, and few players can claim to have come away from an encounter with Craig Goodwin having enhanced their reputation.
Johnny Koutroumbis (Newcastle Jets)
It's been a tough few months for the 20-year-old defender but health concerns haven't fazed him, judging by his sensational display against Melbourne City on Friday night.
Koutroumbis - who had a cancer scare in October - was full of energy as he played a major role in the Jets' much-needed 3-1 win.
He not only set-up Jair's opening goal with an inch-perfect cross, but was also involved in Newcastle's match-sealer for Roy O'Donovan.
Leigh Broxham (Melbourne Victory)
Victory's 'Mr Fix-it' was at it again in the 1-1 draw with Victory, shifting from centre-back to left-back for Kevin Muscat's men.
While he did his defensive work with a minimum of fuss, his biggest contribution for the visitors came at the other end.
Broxham's driving run into the box ended with him being sandwiched by Louis Fenton and Roy Krishna, winning a penalty which Keisuke Honda converted.
Jason Davidson (Perth Glory)
Is there an Australian left-back in better form than Davidson at the moment?
Tony Popovic would probably argue not, giving he has been treated to dominant displays all season long.
Davidson was outstanding yet again in Glory's 4-0 hammering of Brisbane Roar, breaking the deadlock with a clever finish from a narrow angle early in proceedings and later demonstrating his fine understanding with Diego Castro for the home side's final goal.
Aiden O'Neill (Central Coast Mariners)
Central Coast were indebted to Ben Kennedy and his hard-working defence for clinging holding Sydney FC to a 1-1 draw at Leichhardt Oval but they wouldn't have been in a position to claim a point without O'Neill.
The on-loan 20-year-old notched his third Hyundai A-League goal in fine style on Sunday, picking out the bottom-right corner with a measured strike from the edge of the area.
No Mariners player managed as many touches as O'Neill, who also registered a game-high six interceptions.
KEY CONTRIBUTORS: Loanees the leaders in Mariners' morale-boosting draw
Roly Bonevacia (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Given a more creative role as a result of several absences, Bonevacia staked a claim to occupy the attacking midfield spot on a more regular basis with a tremendous showing away to Adelaide.
The Dutchman scored one and set up the other two as Western Sydney secured back-to-back Hyundai A-League victories for the first time since February 2018.
Bonevacia laid on five key passes in total at Coopers Stadium despite his team tallying just 30 per cent of possession.
Elvis Kamsoba (Melbourne Victory)
In an entertaining clash in Auckland, Kamsoba lit-up Eden Park on numerous occasions.
His speed and trickery on the ball caused the Wellington defence all sorts of problems and he was often the architect of a promising Victory attack.
Considering he's only had a handful of games, Kamsoba is looking every bit a Hyundai A-League player!
Diego Castro (Perth Glory)
He just gets better with age.
Picking up from where he left off at AAMI Park a week earlier, the masterful Castro was the architect of Perth's rout of Roar on Saturday night.
The Spaniard laid Andy Keogh's second goal on a platter, deservedly grabbed one for himself in the second half and he concluded a sublime 90 minutes with seven key passes - three more than any other player.
Jair (Newcastle Jets)
The Brazilian chose the perfect time to play his best game in Jets colours, inspiring his side to their crucial win over City.
Jair put in a performance of real quality and desire, which is exactly how you would describe his headed goal in the first half.
It was also his tackle to dispossess Riley McGree and perfect pass to Roy O'Donovan which set up Newcastle's decisive second goal.
Andy Keogh (Perth Glory)
Back in the starting XI and right back in the Golden Boot race.
Keogh - scorer of 12 goals in 16 starts this term - marked his recall with a first-half brace to help blow away Brisbane, who have been on the receiving end of the striker's best time after time.
The former Republic of Ireland man opened his account with a commanding header and, while his second was altogether more simple, there was no doubting the quality of the double.
Coach of the Round
Ernie Merrick (Newcastle Jets)
With one eye on the AFC Champions League, Merrick took an understrength side into Friday night's match but still managed to lead his side to a win over heavy favourites City.
He cannily introduced O'Donovan and Champness in the second half and the pair both scored while setting up each other's goal.
Newcastle are now back to within six points of the Finals Series places.
RESILIENT: Merrick hails 'tenacious' Jets