The Newcastle Jets look like they can still take flight, but it will have been another sleepless night for the Aloisi brothers following the Brisbane Roar’s defeat.
Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
The round opened with a much needed victory for the Jets on the road and ended with three points that kept Perth atop the A-League ladder.
In between, a few players stood out and led their teams with authority and skill. Here are the men that made the difference over the course of the weekend.
1. Lawrence Thomas (Melbourne Victory)
It was another stunning performance from the Victory shot stopper despite the limited chances that Sydney FC were able to create at Jubilee Stadium.
There was no recreation of the bloodied and bandaged last line of defence warrior that still burns in many people’s minds, yet Thomas was sharp, determined and clinical in his execution against Sydney FC.
Thomas is one of the best in the business and foreign clubs will come knocking it he keeps producing such form on a weekly basis.
2. Kye Rowles (Central Coast Mariners)
For the second time this season, 20 year-old Rowles has made the team of the week and people are surely starting to notice the young man from Kiama.
Andy Keogh was well and truly negated, as the rookie hustled and bustled against one of the cheekiest opponents in the league. There might just be an international career ahead for the young defender and watching his development will be a treat for all Australian football fans.
3. Jop van der Linden (Sydney FC)
Despite playing the role of villain in the second goal for the Victory, the Dutchman was one of Sydney’s best in a ‘big blue’ where the home side was well and truly outplayed.
Sydney look to be strong defensively in season 2018-19 and van der Linden appears to be a tower of strength at the back. It wasn’t enough against the Victory, yet his central defensive partnership with Alex Wilkinson will prove tough to crack throughout the season.
4. Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Newcastle Jets)
I’m not too sure of all the intricate details behind the tall central defenders departure from the Wanderers after the 2015/16 season, but if the Wanderers were in any way pleased to see Topor-Stanley leave, they were foolish.
Friday night was vital for the Jets and the fortress built at the back proved too much for Western Sydney to crack.
It was Topor-Stanley at his best, sweeping and stopping attacking forays; harking back to his sterling efforts during the Wanderers’ Asian Cup run.
5. Shane Lowry (Perth Glory)
Another one of the unsung heroes of the A-league. Lowry does his job time after time and found a rare yet deserved goal against the Mariners.
While not the most fashionable of players, Lowry grinds away in defence and pops up with a strike on goal every now and then. Despite something of a frustrating night for the Glory, Lowry was outstanding from the first whistle and deserved his goal mid-way through the second half.
6. Isaias (Adelaide United)
I felt bad not including one of the stalwarts of the A-League in the team of the week over the past month, yet there is an undoubted spot for the Spaniard in this week’s team.
Even though it took Adelaide some time to get on top of the Phoenix away from home, they eventually did and Isaias was instrumental in controlling the ball in defensive midfield and setting up much of the attacking play that eventually saw the Reds triumph three goals to one.
7. Neil Kilkenny (Perth Glory)
After a somewhat tense departure from Melbourne City, Neil Kilkenny has done exactly what a quality footballer should do. He has moved on to a new club with the intention of proving that his previous manger was a fool. With a hand in all three of Perth’s goals, Kilkenny was the main creative presence and played a superb game in midfield.
What Warren Joyce made of it, I do not know.
8. Alex Lopez (Brisbane Roar)
This man is getting me as excited as any other player in the A-League right now. The Roar needed a win, Taggart made a statement and the Spaniard was instrumental in Brisbane’s victory against a rather hapless City side that looked lost and bewildered.
Lopez is looming as one of the most valuable acquisitions in the league and when feeding Adam Taggart, threatens to become a major player come semi-final time.
9. Adam Taggart (Brisbane Roar)
My little mate is starting to show the Australian footballing public why he may well be the shrewdest signing of the off-season.
With all the talk around the dearth of home-grown striking talent, Taggart has hit the top of the goal scorers table with five from five games and with a little luck, could have had two or three more.
I predicted 20+ for the 25 year-old. At this rate, he may even eclipse that mark, after another excellent performance against City on Saturday night that produced another two goals.
10. Chris Ikonomidis (Perth Glory)
Whilst much attention was placed on the return of Diego Castro, Ikonomidis was brilliant once again against the Mariners. The subtle touch and sheer skill that the former Wanderers man possesses is pure class and in a team threatening to take the A-League by the scruff of the neck, he looms as a vital cog in a potential championship run for the Glory.
11. Ryan Kitto (Adelaide United)
In a match where the Reds were well and truly under the pump throughout the first half, Kitto was the sole attacking threat for an Adelaide team on the road. As the game progressed, his influence grew and excellent runs down the left led to quality crosses and the creation of dangerous situations.
It was a slow kill for Adelaide, yet one that was executed with control and composure, with Kitto as a considerable contributor to the eventual victory.
Another great team to round out the week of A-league action. Have I missed a star deserving of their time in the sun or overstated the performance of a few members of this team? Who makes your a-League team of the week?