Team of the Week, presented by Bunnings Warehouse - Matchweek 24
A pair of teenagers played starring roles in Matchweek 24, helping to haul Newcastle Jets off the foot of the A-League table in an entertaining final Matchweek of the 2020/21 A-League season.
Archie Goodwin (16) and Lucas Mauragis (19) excelled in Newcastle's 1-1 draw with Perth Glory and the 2-1 win over Melbourne City which gave Craig Deans' side the points needed to rise above Melbourne Victory on the table and avoid the wooden spoon.
Adelaide United kicked off the Matchweek with a 2-2 draw which sealed the Reds' spot in the top six, before Wellington capped off their campaign with a 3-0 win over Macarthur FC on the road.
Brisbane Roar fell to Sydney FC 2-0 at home, as did Western United on their travels to face Central Coast Mariners.
Melbourne City featured twice in Matchweek 24 but failed to notch a win leading into the Finals Series, drawing 1-1 with Melbourne Victory before losing 2-1 to the Jets in the last game before the post-season.
At the conclusion of an exciting, unpredictable 2020/21 regular season, read on to see which players feature in Matchweek 24 Team of the Week, presented by Bunnings Warehouse.
Thomas Heward-Belle - Sydney FC
Heward-Belle put in a stellar performance against Brisbane Roar to give Sydney FC head coach Steve Corica plenty of confidence of his ability to stand in for Andrew Redmayne for the 2020/21 Finals Series.
With the Sky Blues number one on Socceroos duty, Heward-Belle made six saves to notch a clean sheet in the 1-0 win, twice denying Dylan Wenzel-Halls with excellent stops before keeping Joey Champness out with his best save of the night, getting down low to block out the Roar substitute.
Jack Clisby - Central Coast Mariners
A goal and a clean sheet in the Mariners' 2-0 win over Western United made Clisby a key contributor to his side's all-important win which sealed third spot on the A-League table.
Clisby found the back of the net for the second time in three games to put his side one goal ahead in Gosford, before digging in to help a new-look Mariners backline keep a clean sheet in the 2-0 victory.
Clisby's night included a brave headed block on Tomoki Imai's second-half strike as the left-back showed a decisive touch in attack and defence as the Mariners went third ahead of the Finals Series.
Nikolai Topor-Stanley - Newcastle Jets
The Jets veteran put on a pair of important performances throughout Matchweek 24, to help his side earn the points needed to avoid the wooden spoon.
Newcastle came from a goal down to draw with Perth Glory on Saturday, June 5. Topor-Stanley won five of his eight duels, clearing twice and making one interception before the centre-back made seven clearances and four interceptions in a 2-1 win over Premiers Melbourne City, winning four of his five duels along the way to help the Jets clinch an unlikely win which sent Melbourne Victory to the bottom of the A-League table.
Steven Taylor - Wellington Phoenix
Wellington's defensive leader put on a near-perfect display as he helped guide the Phoenix to a commanding 3-0 win over Macarthur FC on the road.
The fantastic result capped off a hard-fought season by the New Zealand outfit which benefited greatly from Taylor's mid-season arrival. The Englishman played 50 passes at an accuracy of 98% against the Bulls, making three clearances and winning both of his attempted duels as the 'Nix kept a clean sheet against the sixth-place finishers.
Paulo Retre - Sydney FC
Filling in for Rhyan Grant at right-back, Retre didn't miss a beat as he notched an assist and a clean sheet in Sydney's 2-0 win over Brisbane.
Retre created three chances operating up and down the right flank, setting up Kosta Barbarouses for the opening goal whilst performing valiantly in defence, getting back to deny Dylan Wenzel-Halls a clear sight on goal with a desperate block inside the penalty area in the second half.
With Grant away for the Finals Series on Socceroos duty, Retre has an important role to play as Steve Corica's side target a third-straight Championship.
Lucas Mauragis - Newcastle Jets
Mauragis was one of two young Jets that took the league by storm in Matchweek 24.
The 19-year-old created a pair of chances against Perth, playing five crosses and applying the key pass for Angus Thurgate whose resulting shot deflected off Glory defender Jonathan Aspropotamitis on its way into the back of the net.
Days later facing Premiers Melbourne City Mauragis starred, assisting an Archie Goodwin thunderbolt to draw Newcastle level at 1-1 before applying another assist to the winning goal, headed home by Apostolos Stamatelopoulous. Mauragis created three chances against City, played ten crosses and made five clearances to cap off a magnificent end to the season by the teenage Jet.
Reno Piscopo - Wellington Phoenix
Wellington's midfield creator gave his side plenty of attacking impetus in a dominant 3-0 win over Macarthur FC on the road.
Clearly hampered by a shoulder injury sustained in Wellington's recent contest with Western Sydney Wanderers, Piscopo fought through the pain to create four chances and dispatch four shots from 76 touches throughout the night at Campbelltown Stadium.
Josh Nisbet - Central Coast Mariners
Nisbet capped off a season to remember with a typically tough, committed 90-minute shift in his side's 2-0 win over Western United.
Nisbet enjoyed an 88.5% passing accuracy, winning eight of 11 duels whilst playing his role in midfield. The Mariners man was unfortunate not to earn an assist off a darting run to the box, feeding Alou Kuol in on goal who missed the target.
As the Mariners head into the Finals Series campaign, Nisbet is sure to play a vital role for his side - as he has done all season.
Craig Goodwin - Adelaide United
It looked as though the Reds would leave the door open for Wellington Phoenix to steal their spot in the top six when trailing Western Sydney Wanderers 2-1 at home on Thursday, June 3.
But Craig Goodwin scored the all-important equaliser which ultimately sealed Adelaide's path to the Finals Series, capping off a typically creative night by the lively wide-man.
Goodwin created five chances to go with the goal and a 90.6% passing accuracy against the Wanderers.
David Ball - Wellington Phoenix
Ball was everywhere for the 'Nix in a 3-0 win over Macarthur.
The English forward opened the scoring in the first half, earned his side a penalty in the second half and when Tomer Hemed missed that, Ball found another avenue to goal to assist Ben Waine's late finish with one of his four created chances which capped off the 3-0 win.
Archie Goodwin - Newcastle Jets
16-year-old Archie Goodwin put his name up in lights across two fantastic Matchweek 24 displays for Newcastle.
Goodwin took six shots on goal - including four on target - against Perth in a 1-1 draw, winning Player of the Game honours in the process, before capping the 2020/21 season off in style with a slick curling finish from distance which buried into the top-right corner of goal.
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