The jostling for positions in the Round 16 TOTW was the most competitive we’ve seen this season. Here’s what we devised from the Australia Day weekend fixtures.
The jostling for positions in the Round 16 TOTW was the most competitive we've seen this season. Here-s what we devised from the Australia Day weekend fixtures.
Player of the Week:
Luke Brattan (Brisbane Roar): The midfielder lit up Harvey Norman Friday night football with a scorching winner to ensure the league leaders returned back to the winners list. Brattan was industrious throughout the contest and unleashed a wicked shot from 30-metres out with three minutes remaining to complete a comeback win for the Roar. An honourable mention goes to teenage debutante Devante Clut, who earlier netted the equaliser with a spectacular strike of his own.
Danny Vukovic (Perth Glory):The Glory custodian kept his team in the match against the Wanderers, which coach Kenny Lowe freely admitted in the post match press conference. The 28-year-old produced a string of fine saves, indicative of the form he has shown all season. Vukovic was undone by a wicked deflection and beaten from the spot, otherwise he would have single-handedly ensured Glory walked away from Pirtek Stadium with something to show for their efforts.
Sebastian Ryall (Sydney FC):The Sky Blues romped to a comprehensive win on Australia Day and Ryall got in on the act with some trickery any frontman would have been proud of. With his side on the attack, the right back came in off his flank to receive the ball and ghosted past two defenders before toe-poking a finish into the back of the Victory net. The goal ensured Frank Farina-s men were 3-0 up inside the half-hour mark and he fulfilled his duties at the other end banking a clean sheet.
Patrick Kisnorbo (Melbourne Heart): Kisnorbo has proven to be the Heart-s biggest threat from set pieces this season. The central defender demonstrated his aerial prowess when he latched onto a pinpoint freekick from teammate Iain Ramsay to give the Heart the lead against Adelaide. The former Leicester City and Leeds United stalwart had his efforts undone by a late Reds equaliser in what was a huge week for the red and white half of Melbourne.
Trent Sainsbury (Central Coast Mariners): The Mariners defender has been one of the most consistent performers in the competition this season, reflected by his high standing in the count for the Johnny Warren medal. The 22-year-old was again up to the challenge in the cauldron of a derby, thwarting the Jets attack on several occasions to ensure Bluetongue Stadium remains one of the hardest places to score in the Hyundai A-League.
Ali Abbas (Sydney FC): Throughout Sydney-s turbulent season, fan favourite Ali Abbas has been a dependable and creative option who has not shirked his responsibilities. The versatile utility has been deployed in numerous positions by Frank Farina and most recently has found a home in defence. In a game that his side dominated the live wire was always keen to get on the ball and was clinical with his distribution.
Anthony Caceres (Central Coast Mariners):Having debuted for the Mariners in the corresponding fixture last year, Caceres put his stamp on the 31st F3 derby when he produced a blistering shot to open the scoring at Bluetongue Stadium. The central midfielder, who kept captain John Hutchinson out of the starting side, justified his retention when he picked the ball up near halfway and beat two Jets defenders before unleashing an unstoppable strike to register his first goal for the club.
Aaron Mooy (Western Sydney Wanderers): The off-contract Wanderers midfielder has been the subject of transfer rumours in recent times and Mooy certainly put himself in the shop window with a player-of-the-match performance against the Glory. The 23-year-old helped ensure Western Sydney got back to winning ways when his free-kick found the back of the net from 25-metres out. Although the goal took a heavy deflection, it will be hard to deflect speculation about his future if these performances continue.
Shinji Ono (Western Sydney Wanderers):The Japanese marquee produced one of his best performances of the season and was the heartbeat of the attack in the win against Glory. Ono was constantly able to find space in the forward line especially in the first half and his creativity set up numerous chances for his side. With his time in a red and black shirt limited A-League fans best get out and see his silky skills in the flesh before he leaves our shores.
Alessandro Del Piero (Sydney FC): The Sydney FC captain led from the front against Victory, grabbing a brace to help his side to a badly needed three points. Del Piero showed all his experience to convert from the spot and applied a calm finish when through on goal to give the Sky Blues their fourth. The Italian legend demonstrated he-s nearing full fitness when he played out the 90 minutes and will be critical to Sydney-s finals push.
Harry Kewell (Melbourne Heart): The Socceroos legend is another player benefiting from extended game time, having overcome early season injuries. Kewell was one of the best on ground for the second week in a row and showed the newly acquired club will remain a competitive force for the rest of the season. The Heart captain exercised a few demons when he was able to convert from the spot and is seemingly relishing the challenge of forcing his way back into Socceroos calculations.