In Episode 3 of the Soccer Doctors podcast Andy Harper floated an idea that private schools should step up and invest in licenses to join the SAP/NPL system. At first glance this idea has some merit.
With the conclusion of the 2019-20 A-League, let’s have a look back on which player was their club’s best player throughout the campaign.
Adelaide United – Riley McGree
United for the first time in the club’s history paid a transfer fee in order to bring McGree back to club. Costing €950,000 ($1.6 million) from Belgian side Club Brugge, the Australian under-23 international player has been worth every cent. Playing predominantly in midfield McGree was the standout performer for the club, scoring ten goals and assisting five.
Brisbane Roar – Jamie Young
The veteran goalkeeper put in an impressive display between the sticks this season. Though ranked sixth out of the goalkeepers for saves made this season, he kept the second most clean sheets and was the heart of the Roar’s defence. It was a season that should have seen him named as the goalkeeper in the A-League team of the season.
Central Coast Mariners – Mark Birighitti
It’s like clutching at straws to find a standout performer for the Mariners this season. Birighitti though was the most consistent performer for the team. Under constant pressure, Birighitti did his best to keep his side in the game and finished the season with the most saves in the league this year.
Melbourne City – Jamie Maclaren
It was dream campaign for Maclaren in his first full season for City. He claimed his second A-League golden boot, scoring 22 goals. Only two more players have scored more goals in a season and it is the second highest goal tally in a season by a Melbourne City player.
Melbourne Victory – Marco Rojas
He only made ten A-League appearances for the Victory this season and still did enough to be the side’s best player this year. In a largely disappointing season for the Victory in which players were inconsistent, Rojas was a standout since his arrival in the January transfer window. Six goals and an assist in ten games is a good return.
Newcastle Jets – Dimitri Petratos
While the Jets started the season slowly, Petratos was a consistent performer for his side throughout the campaign, scoring five and assisting nine. He played all 26 games this season. Ranked number one this season for assists, Petratos was the general of the Jets’ attack, setting up attacking chances and getting on the end of goals himself.
Perth Glory – Diego Castro
Having turned 38 in July, Castro aged like a fine wine this season, scoring four goals and assisting seven in 18 games this campaign. Forming an impressive attacking trio with Bruno Fornaroli and Chris Ikonomidis, Castro was impressive in attack and his presence was missed in his absence after the restart of the season.
Sydney FC – Adam Le Fondre
After an impressive debut campaign in the A-League last season in which he scored 18 goals, Le Fondre bettered himself, finishing the campaign in second for the golden boot with 20 goals. In a team studded with quality players, Le Fondre’s scoring output puts him ahead of his teammates as Sydney’s best player this season.
Wellington Phoenix – Ulises Davila
The biggest surprise omission from the A-League team of the season, Davila put in a stellar season with the Phoenix. Coming across from the Indian Super League, Davila was not fazed by the step up in quality, taking the league by storm with 12 goals and five assists.
Western Sydney Wanderers – Mitchell Duke
The Wanderers performed below expectations, but the club’s captain exceeded them. Having only scored four goals and producing no assists last season, Duke more than tripled his output this season, scoring 14 and assisting two. Aged 29, Duke looks to being having a career renaissance with the Wanderers.
Western United – Alessandro Diamanti
Coming across from Livorno in the Serie B, Diamanti came in as a marquee signing for the new A-League outfit and didn’t miss a beat. Italian players tend to age well, and at age 37, Diamanti is no exception. Ranked equal second this season for assists with seven, and scoring seven himself, United fans would be happy with how the Italian’s first campaign with the club panned out. He is another surprise omission from the A-League team of the season.