He has not been on the Hyundai A-League scene for long, but Riley McGree has already developed a reputation for producing the spectacular.
The Melbourne City attacker’s standing as one of the competition’s finest rising stars was hammered home this season – and there’s no surprise McGree forms a list of six contenders to take home the NAB Young Footballer of the Year award.
NAB Young Footballer of the Year: Sarpreet Singh (Wellington Phoenix)
NAB Young Footballer of the Year: Chris Ikonomidis (Perth Glory)
NAB Young Footballer of the Year: Lachlan Wales (Melbourne City)
NAB Young Footballer of the Year: Thomas Deng (Melbourne Victory)
NAB Young Footballer of the Year: Keanu Baccus (Western Sydney Wanderers)
McGree's campaign in Opta stats
Story of the Season
As if fans needed any more evidence of McGree’s precocious talent after his dramatic intervention for Newcastle Jets in last season's semi-final, the then-teenager scored with his first touch after coming off the bench to win the Melbourne Derby in Round 1.
Talk about making an impact.
City boss Warren Joyce’s preference for organisation over flair may have hindered McGree’s capacity to influence affairs in the final third as regularly as he would have liked, but it did not shackle the former Adelaide United youth’s game-changing ability.
Nor did it prevent McGree from adding some spectacular goals in his tally of seven so far this season, with the most impressive contribution being a clinical pair of finishes in City’s 3-2 defeat by Wellington Phoenix in Round 26.
Why he is a good shout to be NAB Young Footballer of the Year
McGree’s freakish scorpion-kick goal in the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 semi-final will likely never leave his name, but this season the attacker showed he is no flash in the pan.
He scored four goals in the final three matches of the regular campaign and was one of City's best in their Elimination Final defeat to Adelaide United.