Kemp's bittersweet year

Few players would have endured as many highs and lows in a single season as Melbourne Victory star Matthew Kemp has in season 2009/10.

Few players would have endured as many highs and lows in a single season as Melbourne Victory star Matthew Kemp has in season 2009/10.

First there was the career best form which resulted in the 29-year-old winning his first Socceroos' cap in January against Kuwait in an Asian Cup qualifier.

Yet just a month later Kemp ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament just as the A-League season was reaching its business end, against North Queensland just a fortnight out from the start of the finals series.

But having already resigned himself to missing out on Melbourne's bid to become the first club in the five year history of the Hyundai A-League to win back-to-back titles, Kemp's topsy-turvy year finished on a high when earlier this week he was named in the PFA's Team of the Year for the first time.

Kemp was one of four Melbourne players named in the 16 man team, alongside skipper Kevin Muscat, Archie Thompson and Johnny Warren Medalist Carlos Hernandez.

"I was very happy to get an award like that, especially one that is voted on by the players," he told Sportal.

"It's nice to know you have got that respect from your fellow professionals."

But despite that honour and the delight of finally winning his first Socceroos' cap, Kemp admits this season has been a bittersweet one given he will miss Saturday night's grand final against Sydney FC.

And it's not the first time Kemp has found himself in this position.

"I was very happy with the way the season was going and it was definitely the best year personally that I'd had but for it to end the way it has is frustrating," he said.

"This is actually my third grand final in four years but I have only played in one of them (after he missed the 2007 grand final loss due to suspension when he was with Adelaide)."

"That is so frustrating but I am just so glad I got the one last year and we won (when Melbourne beat Adelaide 1-0) but it would be great to go back-to-back because I still feel I played a role because I still played most of the season."

Kemp admits he is a nervous spectator and is hoping for better luck watching from the sidelines in this week's grand final than in 2007 when he watched his then Adelaide team humbled 6-0 by the Victory at Etihad Stadium.

"I am just dying to get out there, watching the boys play these big games is so tough," he said.

"You just want to be out there, I am not good at watching and I get so much more nervous watching than playing."

"When you are playing you know you have got a job to do and you just get out there and you know you can influence the game but when you are stuck on the sidelines you can't do anything."

But Kemp is hoping to be back for the early part of next season although he is shattered he won't be playing when Melbourne makes its debut at its soon to be completed new stadium.

"My knee is coming along well," he said.

"It will take about six months to be back in (full) training and then it's a matter of building your fitness from there so I am looking at (returning) early next season."

"I would be surprised if I am ready for the start of the season but maybe a few rounds into next season so in the end I may not miss too many games - the last five or six at the end of this season and maybe only the first three or four of next season."