The halfway mark of the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Season has passed and, much like the ladder, several players are beginning to set themselves apart from the pack.
Outstanding individual displays have been seen and savoured so far this campaign with some stringing them together on a consistent basis.
The six men listed below have been among the best and form the www.aleague.com.au shortlist of the finest performers thus far.
But who are some of the other contenders? Let us know!
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Vote for your player of the Hyundai A-League Season 2018/19 so far
Adam Le Fondre (Sydney FC)
Their shapes and styles are at opposite ends of the centre-forward spectrum but Sydney FC’s off-season recruit Adam Le Fondre has certainly filled Bobo’s boots.
The diminutive former Reading and Bolton Wanderers man has taken to life Down Under with admirable ease despite admitting to being pleasantly surprised by the playing standard.
He has started every match and notched 11 goals against a spread of reputable opponents.
Le Fondre scored four times in his first three appearances, boasts a pair of braces and has been on target in two separate trips to Perth Glory.
Crucially, the 32-year-old is a good fit in the front four alongside fellow ever-presents Alex Brosque and Milos Ninkovic.
A born poacher and a standout candidate to finish as the competition’s top scorer.
Roy Krishna (Wellington Phoenix)
At present, Le Fondre’s closest competitor for the Golden Boot is Roy Krishna, with whom he is level on 11 goals.
And it’s to the Wellington Phoenix forward’s significant credit that his exceptional performances have come as the spearhead of a team previously expected to struggle for a spot in the top six.
Long regarded as a live-wire capable of sparking into action at any stage, the fleet-footed 31-year-old has added consistency to his game and symbolised Phoenix’s maturation under Mark Rudan.
An incredible run of three consecutive doubles from Round 12 to Round 14 highlighted just how far the striker has come in what is undoubtedly his finest Hyundai A-League campaign to date.
Wellington are a team transformed this term, and Krishna deserves a large amount of credit for making that possible.
Neil Kilkenny (Perth Glory)
It’s safe to say Perth Glory’s capture of Neil Kilkenny from Melbourne City in January 2018 has been a resounding success.
A bright light in an underperforming team during the second half of last season, the ex-Caltex Socceroo is now the heartbeat of a side making a serious play for the Premiers Plate.
Kilkenny, 33, covers the pitch at HBF Park without problem and has brought a measure of control in midfield missing from Perth teams of the past.
Only three players have distributed more passes, while four assists and four goals are excellent returns at this stage of the season, particularly for a player operating at the base of midfield.
Kilkenny has been the experienced head bringing Tony Popovic’s plans together and will be crucial to the club’s trophy hopes.
James Troisi (Melbourne Victory)
Though far from a preferable circumstance for Kevin Muscat, Keisuke Honda’s injury absence appears to have brought the best of James Troisi.
The Melbourne Victory playmaker took some time to find his feet as part of a reshaped midfield but has flourished in the space behind the strikers in recent weeks and months.
His three goals in January have all been of gigantic importance. Troisi has hit match-winning goals against Newcastle Jets and Sydney FC, and snared one in the come-from-behind draw against Wellington Phoenix - a trio of strikes which have helped secure seven crucial points.
Just as valuable have been the league-leading six assists which have reduced the output expected of fellow stars Honda and Terry Antonis, in addition to smoothing Ola Toivonen’s entrance at the point of attack.
This is proving a renaissance season for Troisi and he could well be vying for the Johnny Warren Medal by the end of it.
Craig Goodwin (Adelaide United)
At times the season of Adelaide United has resembled one big welcome home party for Craig Goodwin.
The Adelaide born attacker has had a point to prove on his return to the Hyundai A-League for the first time since 2016 - and boy is he making it.
In the absence of a genuine number nine, Goodwin has shouldered the attacking responsibility brilliantly for Marco Kurz's side and has come up with several decisive moments in the shape of match winning goals against Newcastle Jets and Western Sydney Wanderers.
No other player in the competition can match Goodwin's output, with his seven goals and four assists contributing to 11 of Adelaide's 21 goals scored so far.
Ritchie De Laet (Melbourne City)
It seems no task is too tall for Ritchie De Laet.
On loan from Aston Villa, 30-year-old De Laet has been willing to roll up his sleeves and adjust to the kind of unfamiliar roles other high-profile signings might have shunned.
He made an immediate impression on the right side of defence in the early part of the season, providing the equaliser in Melbourne City’s season-opening 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory.
A second goal followed at home to Wellington Phoenix less than a month later and the staggeringly versatile De Laet has since been asked to plug a hole as the focal point in attack.
He did not contest Warren Joyce’s request; rather, the former Manchester United and Leicester City man got on with turning in a series of effective performances.
De Laet’s four goals since the turn of the year make it six for the season and are just part of what has been an outstanding contribution to his club’s campaign.