Local Aussies: King Kenny's unlikely road to stardom

From the King to Killa, overseas-born Aussies were the flavour of the Hyundai A-League in Round 26.

Get an insight into their exploits and more in our latest Local Aussies wrap as we shine a light on some of the best-performing domestic talents.


Two games, two goals and 'King Kenny' is flying at Melbourne Victory.

The Sudanese-born striker enhanced his growing fan base with a match-turning performance in Victory's come-from-behind 2-1 win over Wellington Phoenix.

Buoyed his maiden AFC Champions League goal in midweek, Athiu came off the bench at AAMI Park to rescue a handy result, drawing a penalty for the hosts' equaliser before a commanding close-range header sealed all three points.

READ: 'King Kenny' shows why he has the X-factor at Melbourne Victory

Athiu, who earned a Hyundai A-League contract by lighting up the FFA Cup with Heidelberg United, has had to bide his time behind starting centre-forward Besart Berisha.

But coach Kevin Muscat praised the 25-year-old's dedication to lifting his level to a fully-professional environment.

"We shouldn't underestimate the difference in training and habits. Kenny has worked tirelessly," Muscat said.

"I'm really proud of him. He's offering something now."

Illustrating his rise from warehouse worker six month ago to Hyundai A-League danger man, Athiu explained in a post-match interview just how unusual his road to the top has been.


From King Kenny to Neil Kilkenny, who helped Kenny Lowe and Perth Glory secure a vital three points on Friday night.

The 32-year-old has been a revelation at Glory since joining the club from Melbourne City in January.

Indeed, his arrival has sparked a run back into top six contention that continued with an impressive 2-0 win away to Newcastle Jets on Friday night.

Kilkenny, who won the last of his 14 Caltex Socceroos caps in June 2012, proved his importance to Perth in the victory, leading the visitors in passes and recovering possession on 10 separate occasions.

"He's a good player. Good players make differences. The two lads [Kilkenny and Xavi Torres] in front of the back four were super," Glory boss Lowe said after the match.

Lowe will hope his midfield tiger can muffle Brisbane Roar when the two sides meet in a must-win match this Saturday night.

READ: Kilkenny delighted after Glory clear first Finals Series hurdle

Neil Kilkenny
Neil Kilkenny is a key cog for Perth.


Every attacking star needs a supportive midfield and that's what Chris Ikonomidis had courtesy of Kearyn Baccus on Saturday.

The pair were pivotal to Western Sydney Wanderers' big win over Brisbane Roar, with the box-to-back Baccus setting the platform for his team-mate to grab the headlines.

READ: Sensational Wanderers roll Roar to boost Finals Series hopes

Alongside younger brother Keanu, the elder Baccus was a rock in the heart of midfield as he made a game-high five tackles to go with four key passes, two shots, two clearances and an overall passing accuracy of 90.2 per cent.

The former U20 international has been in an out of Josep Gombau's side this season but looks ready for a big Finals Series, pending Wanderers' involvement.

Kearyn Baccus
Kearyn Baccus impressed in Round 26.


Central Coast Mariners are preparing to farewell a club legend this weekend as veteran full-back Josh Rose laces up the boots for one final time.

The 36-year-old, who made over 100 appearances for Romanian outfit     Universitatea Craiova prior to joining the Mariners, has been a fan favourite in Gosford for his whole-hearted desire across two stints with the club.

READ: Mariners legend Rose announces retirement

A Grand Final winner in 2012, Rose will undoubtedly be eager to leave the club with a parting gift in what promises to be an emotionally-charged F3 Derby on Saturday night.

But just as one says farewell, Central Coast could evidently have another Rose in their ranks in the near future.