Team of the Week, presented by Bunnings Warehouse – Matchweek 2
Matchweek 2 offered up action and drama aplenty as Central Coast Mariners remained leaders of the pack as the only side with two wins to their name from their opening two games.
Alen Stajcic's side overcame Macarthur FC 2-0 to secure back-to-back wins to start the season, while Adelaide United also remained undefeated after a draw in Matchweek 1 by defeating Melbourne City by the same scoreline.
Sydney FC are off and running after beating Wellington Phoenix 2-1, as are Brisbane Roar, who ensured there were no draws in Matchweek 2 by overcoming Melbourne Victory 3-1 at AAMI Park.
Eleven players stood above the rest as the best performers in regards to stats collated by Opta from the four games in Matchweek 2, to find themselves a spot in the A-League Team of the Week, powered by Bunnings Warehouse.
This is the line-up of players that performed the best as scored by Opta's statistical model.
The index uses Opta’s granular data to create a ranking score for each player, seeing an increase in their index for positive actions and a decrease for negative actions.
James Delianov - Adelaide United
Opta statistical model score - 89.4.
Two clean sheets in two weeks marks a successful start to life in Adelaide for James Delianov after his off-season move from Western United.
Delianov made the most saves (six) of any goalkeeper in Matchweek 2 as he kept a clean sheet to help the Reds on their way to a convincing 2-0 win over Melbourne City at Coopers Stadium.
Macaulay Gillesphey - Brisbane Roar
Opta statistical model score - 84.6
Brisbane Roar notched an emphatic win on the road against Melbourne Victory thanks to a formidable second half performance in which Macaulay Gillesphey shone.
The 25-year-old won possession more times (13) than any other player in Matchweek 2, but his impact defensively was matched in the final third when he scored from his only attempt on goal to put the visitors up 2-1 with half an hour to play.
Corey Brown - Brisbane Roar
Opta statistical model score - 77.8.
As Gillesphey ventured forward to score Brisbane's second goal against Victory, it was fellow defender Corey Brown on set-piece duty from the corner which was placed perfectly for Gillesphey to attack and ultimately convert.
Brown's vital assist for the goal complimented his 100% tackle rate (2/2) and three contested aerial duels which made his role in Brisbane's win of vital importance.
Tom Alred - Brisbane Roar
Opta statistical model score - 76.6.
The third of Brisbane's four defenders to either assist or score against Victory, captain Tom Alred fed Dylan Wenzel-Halls the ball which led to his spectacular sealing goal late in the contest at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
Aldred's 81.6% accuracy from 38 passes on the night helped the 30-year-old act as a controlling presence in Brisbane's back four as they dealt with Victory's talent-laden attack to register an impressive win on the road.
Jack Hingert - Brisbane Roar
Opta statistical model score - 76.1.
He didn't impact the scoresheet like his defensive counterparts, but Jack Hingert's gritty shift in Brisbane's back four ensured he well and truly left his mark in the Roar's 3-1 win.
Only one player league-wide made more clearances than Hingert (six) in Matchweek 2; in addition, he made team-highs for duels contested (13) and duels won (nine).
Callum McManaman - Melbourne Victory
Opta statistical model score - 94.0.
Victory's English import produced a memorable performance on his A-League debut against the Roar.
Only one player made more carries than McManaman (23) in Matchweek 2, as he showcased his impressive dribbling abilities throughout a 90-minute shift highlighted by his electric performance in the opening stanza.
The 29-year-old buried a left-footed curler into the top left corner midway through the first half to instantly show Victory fans the top-class talent he'll be bringing to their squad in the 2020/21 A-League campaign.
Calem Niewenhof - Sydney FC
Opta statistical model score - 93.8.
An unforgettable A-League debut by Sydney FC's latest homegrown star.
At 19 years of age, Niewenhof stepped out to face Wellington Phoenix surrounded by the breadth of talent possessed by Sydney FC's established stars, and didn't miss a beat as he helped the Sky Blues tick along in midfield.
His joint-team high of four shots for the match included his strike in the 24th minute from distance which rifled into the top corner to open the scoring and secure the young midfielder A-League Goal of Matchweek 2.
Luke Brattan - Sydney FC
Opta statistical model score - 89.9.
Not to be outdone by his Sky Blue teammate, Luke Brattan joined Nieuwenhof in impacting the scoresheet against Wellington in truly magnificent style.
His second half free-kick stunned Phoenix 'keeper Stefan Marinovic, as he scrambled to get a glove on Brattan's brutal swerving attempt to no avail as it flew into the back of the net.
But along with the magnificence of his set piece goal Brattan performed astutely in the centre of the park for 90 minutes, making 64 passes at an accuracy of 96.9% - the most of any player with a minimum of 20 passes in Matchweek 2 - and a league high of four blocked shots for the Matchweek.
Alex Rufer - Wellington Phoenix
Opta statistical model score - 81.1.
The Phoenix lost out to Sydney FC in Matchweek 2, but Alex Rufer can hold his head high after a magnificent showing in midfield.
Rufer produced a team-high of 70 passes 95.7% accuracy and three aerial duels as he battled away with Brattan and co. in the middle of the park.
The 24-year-old endeavoured to offer both control and creativity to the Phoenix as he created three scoring chances for his side throughout the game, which were ultimately wasted.
Dylan Wenzel-Halls - Brisbane Roar
Opta statistical model score - 87.6.
Could we see the best of Dylan Wenzel-Halls in a Roar kit this season?
Judging by his performance in Matchweek 2, the 23-year-old has shown plenty of promise he will become more than a handful for defences around the league in the 2020/21 campaign.
Wenzel-Halls became the first player to both score goal and provide an assist in a game this A-League season; he assisted Scott McDonald for the opening goal of the game before converting a magnificent solo run and strike late in the contest to seal a memorable win against the Victory.
Tomi Juric - Adelaide United
Opta statistical model score - 86.5.
Tomi Juric signalled his intent to contest to regain his spot in the Socceroos squad upon returning to the A-League with Adelaide United, and with current Socceroos marksman Jamie Maclaren down the other end when the Reds hosted Melbourne City the 29-year-old stole the show with a goal on his return to Coopers Stadium.
Juric took four touches in City's box throughout the game and scored a goal from his two shots on target; he was the only Adelaide player to have multiple attempts on goal for the afternoon.
Now off and running in the A-League, Juric will have plenty more goals and Bunnings Warehouse Team of the Week appearances in his sights as he attempts to put Graham Arnold and the national side on notice.
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