A-League Team of the Year

by Neil Sherwin

With the dust settled on Season 6 of the Hyundai A-League, Neil Sherwin picks his Team of the Year.

Goalkeeper:

Matt Ryan – Central Coast Mariners

When a team loses its first choice keeper right at the beginning of the season, the omens usually aren’t good. However a show of faith by Central Coast Mariners boss Graham Arnold following Jess Vanstrattan’s season ending ACL injury pushed 18 year old Matt Ryan into the spotlight. The youngster excelled in his first A-League season, picking up the Young Player of the Year award and also the Man of the Match gong in the Grand Final.

Defence:

Ivan Franjic – Brisbane Roar

Everyone loves a marauding full back, and Ivan Franjic certainly fits the bill. Extremely consistent throughout the entire campaign, the right back was always an attacking threat while never neglecting his defensive duties.

Joshua Rose – Central Coast Mariners

Like Franjic, Joshua Rose is another full back that has made his reputation off his attacking qualities as much as his defensive ones. He offers the Mariners another dimension when going forward and enjoyed a great season, scoring three times and chipping in with seven assists.

Michael Thwaite – Gold Coast United

Centre half Thawaite is another A-League player who has earned an international call up off the back of some impressive domestic performances. Having played in Romania, Poland and Norway, the 27 year old used all his experience to be the key component in the Gold Coast defence this season.

Matt Smith – Brisbane Roar

A lot of people thought that the Roar would suffer when Luke DeVere left the club for K-League side Gyeongnam FC in January. However Smith, who is originally from England, put in some superb performances at the heart of the Brisbane defence to ensure that DeVere’s absence was barely felt.

Midfield:

Thomas Broich – Brisbane Roar

To be widely regarded as the best player in a team that has gone 28 games unbeaten is an impressive feat, but Thomas Broich fully deserves the plaudits are a superb season. The 30 year old German was at the heart of everything good about Brisbane Roar, accumulating six goals an 12 assists in the process.

Marcos Flores – Adelaide United

The Argentine playmaker was a revelation at Hindmarsh Stadium in his first season of A-League football. He contributed eight goals and eight assists to the cause and put in a number of scintillating performances, scoring a hattrick in his side’s 8-1 win over North Queensland Fury in January.

Jason Culina – Gold Coast United

Despite suffering a season ending injury while on international duty with Australia at the Asian Cup in January, Jason Culina did more than enough to merit a spot in the side. The Gold Coast United skipper led by example and oozed class in the middle of the park. It’s just a pity that he didn’t get to have more playing time with returning marksman Shane Smeltz.

Matt McKay – Brisbane Roar

The Grand Final winning skipper enjoyed an excellent season both with the Roar and also with the Socceroos. Impressive performances at January’s Asian Cup have cemented his place in Holger Osieck’s squad and also made him a recognised name worldwide.

Forwards:

Kosta Barbarouses – Brisbane Roar

Following a lack of first team football with the Wellington Phoenix in his native New Zealand, Kosta Barbouses opted to sign a three year deal with the Roar in February 2010. The move couldn’t have worked out any better as he helped himself to 12 goals to finish as the club’s top goalscorer.

Sergio Van Dijk – Adelaide United

Van Dijk is always going to be towards the top of the scoring charts, and he was an essential in anyone’s fantasy football team yet again. The 28 year old Dutchman netted 17 goals in 30 games and linked up well with the likes of Marcos Flores and Mathew Leckie.

Subs:

Michael Theoklitos – Brisbane Roar

Patrick Zwaanswijk – Central Coast Mariners

Tim Brown – Wellington Phoenix

Robbie Kruse – Melbourne Victory

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