While the A-League is expected to return within the next month or so, it is unlikely that we will experience the ‘full’ version of Australian football straight away.
Round 23 was a difficult weekend to choose a team, with half the teams keeping a clean sheet.
That made it a tough but nonetheless a challenging exercise. Like the previous rounds, there are players who picked themselves, mostly comprising those who played on Sunday, including Liberato Cacace, Steven Ugarkovic and Matthew Millar.
Jamie Young, Nathaniel Atkinson, Ruon Tongyik, Alex Grant, Liberato Cacace, Matthew Millar, Steven Ugarkovic, Luke Brattan, Bobbie Burns, David Ball, Roy O’Donovan.
Jamie Young (Brisbane Roar)
In a tough round to choose a goalkeeper given half the keepers stood out. Young made four saves, and it’s fair to say Brisbane Roar have Young to thank for keeping a clean sheet and going home with a point.
Nathaniel Atkinson (right-back, Melbourne City)
Atkinson was prolific, making many marauding runs down the right-hand side. He was everywhere, proving he is destined to go far in his career.
An honourable mention goes to Tim Payne, who was outstanding for the Wellington Phoenix.
Ruon Tongyik (centre-back, Central Coast Mariners)
Tongyik proved he should be a constant part of the Mariners starting line-up. He’s good both without and with the ball, passing with 98.4 per cent accuracy. It’s fair to say Central Coast would have lost by more than a goal without Tongyik playing the game in its entirety.
Alex Grant (centre-back, Perth Glory)
Alex Grant played a fantastic game, helping Perth keep a clean sheet against top-of-the-table Sydney FC. Grant was a quality part of the defensive structure that coach Tony Popovic astutely implemented.
Liberato Cacace (left-back, Wellington Phoenix)
Liberato Cacace is a pivotal part of the Phoenix back four and showed why with an exquisite cross to Gary Hooper, who scored Wellington’s second goal of the game, and never stopped working, providing a constant threat on the right-hand side.
Matthew Millar (right wing, Newcastle Jets)
Millar showed a great work rate, thankfully matched by his execution. It was a quality game from a player who has improved under the management of Carl Robinson. Millar was rewarded for his hard work, scoring the second goal of the game.
Steven Ugarkovic (centre midfield, Newcastle Jets)
Ugarkovic was in a class of his own, as he isn’t only working hard from a defensive perspective and helping Newcastle control the tempo of the game, he is also scoring freakish goals. All that he needed to fulfill his potential was to be more of a danger in the final third.
Luke Brattan (centre midfield, Sydney FC)
Brattan never stopped working, passing the ball with an accuracy of 90.2 per cent. His passing was a great spectacle.
Bobbie Burns (left wing, Newcastle Jets)
Bobbie Burns provided a great cross to set up a sensational goal that just about put the result away, with Steven Ugarkovic making the score 3-0 in favour of the Jets.
David Ball (Wellington Phoenix)
Ball scored the all-important third goal of the game and was a key part of the Phoenix team as far as their structure is concerned, proving as much with a quality display.
Roy O’Donovan (Newcastle Jets)
O’Donovan played a key part in the game, opening the scoring. It may have only been a tap in, but it was a key moment of the match. He continues to work and score, scoring three goals in three games for the Jets.