Western Sydney Wanderers joined the Hyundai A-League with a bang, claiming the Premier's Plate at their first attempt before losing the Grand Final to the Mariners, who claimed their maiden Championship to banish their bitter Brisbane memories.
Here is the story of the season
Alessandro Del Piero (Sydney FC)
Shinji Ono (WSW)
Emile Heskey (Newcastle Jets)
Youssouf Hersi (WSW)
Marcelo Carrusca (Adelaide United)
Marco Rojas (Melbourne Victory)
GAME OF THE SEASON
Central Coast Mariners 7 Sydney FC 2 – the Mariners put their NSW neighbours to the sword in this round five clash at Gosford, notching up what remains their biggest ever Hyundai A-League victory. Daniel McBreen netted a hat-trick and the Mariners scored four goals inside 11 scarcely believable second-half minutes to complete a magical night in front of nearly 16,000 home fans.
Sydney FC's signing of Italian World Cup winner Alessandro Del Piero signalled a sea-change in the perception of the Hyundai A-League, providing evidence that the best players in the world could – and would – come Down Under to play their football.
Victory had never before (and haven't since) conceded six goals in a match, but in round 22 they met a rampant Mariners side in Gosford, going down 6-2 with Michael McGlinchey scoring his one and only Hyundai A-League hat-trick.
GOAL OF THE YEAR
Approaching half-time in their round five clash against Wellington, Victory's Marcos Flores carried the ball from just inside the attacking half to the edge of the penalty area, before playing a pair of one-twos with Brazilian Gui Finkler and guiding a delightful finish past Mark Paston with the outside of his right-foot. It was a goal which was truly South American in both its construction and execution.
GOLDEN BOOT WINNER
Daniel McBreen (Mariners) – 17
The Mariners looked likely to claim back-to-back Premier's Plates, but were overtaken by the charging Wanderers in the season's final month, who held on to finish three points clear. It was a two-horse race though, with third-placed Victory a further ten points back.
STORY OF THE FINALS
Roar and Victory fell by the wayside in the semi-finals, setting up a rightful decider between the season's best two teams. After the heartbreak of three Grand Final losses, the Mariners finally got their hands on a first ever Championship with goals from a Patrick Zwaanswijk header and Daniel McBreen penalty (with memorable celebration to boot) sealing the deal against WSW.