In a round when 16 goals were scored and there were also some stellar defensive efforts, it was a tough task narrowing down the Team of the Week, especially at the pointy end of the pitch which is why this week’s formation is a 3-5-2. But it has to be done and there can only be eleven so see if you agree or not with this selection.
Player of the Week: Marcelo Carrusca
In what was pitted as a battle of the number 10’s, Carrusca put on a master class to overshadow the presence of Alessandro Del Piero at Coopers Stadium on Friday night. The Argentine was instrumental in the Reds’ win, pulling the strings in the front half of the pitch, which included a sublime ‘thread of the needle’ through ball for Fabio Ferreira’s opener. The mouth watering prospect of watching Del Piero, Carrusca and Thomas Broich in the same All Stars team against Juventus in August would be worth the price of admission in itself. Apologies to Carrusca’s team mate Fabio Ferreira who could also have found himself vying for Player of the Week honours.
Lawrence Thomas (Melbourne Victory): It’s not often a keeper from a losing side receives the plaudits of TOTW selection but if not for Lawrence Thomas, the Premiers Plate would arguably have been decided well before the 92nd minute. Since being instated by Coach Kevin Muscat, the young keeper has had his share of knockers, particularly from some of Victory’s own legion of supporters, but he has held his own in both the A-League and ACL, and reeled off a number of clutch saves in a pressure cooker at Suncorp Stadium to ensure the Victory remained in with a chance to snatch the points.
Jerome Polenz (Western Sydney Wanderers): Polenz has built a reputation of being an ultra tough competitor who thrives on the contest and yesterday was no exception. Again proving to be a formidable defensive force, Polenz was also the one that put the Wanderers on their way to another win at home as he scored his team’s opening goal.
Adrian Leijer (Melbourne Victory): His team may have been on the receiving end due to a stoppage time stunner, but Leijer’s performance against the Roar was worthy of high praise. A man who was scheduled to still be sidelined after suffering severe facial fractures, Leijer’s resoluteness to keep the Roar out was heroic.
Kew Jaliens (Newcastle Jets): Since signing a contract extension with the Jets beyond this season, the Dutchman has stepped up his game again and he was a chief instigator in Newcastle’s third clean sheet from four games. If that was not enough, Jaliens’ involvement in Newcastle’s forward forays caused further headaches for Wellington and allowed the Jets’ strike force to inflict the damage on the scoreboard.
Orlando Engelaar (Melbourne Heart): That goal! It may seem shallow to include someone in the TOTW purely for one moment of brilliance, especially in a losing side, but how can you not go past one of the most extraordinary, audacious goals ever scored in the Hyundai A-League’s nine year existence. If you don’t believe the Dutchman warrants selection, replace it with either of Mariners duo Nick Montgomery or Anthony Caceres whose discipline and tenacity went a long way to helping the team from Gosford to all three points at AAMI Park just days after returning from ACL commitments in China.
Zenon Caravella (Newcastle Jets): His contribution may not be flashy or stick out to many, but you can be guaranteed it does not go unnoticed by his team mates or his coach Clayton Zane (or those picking the Team of the Week). Caravella’s tireless work in midfield alongside partner in crime Ruben Zadkovich has been pivotal in Newcastle’s push for a top six berth, and it was no more evident than against the Phoenix. Playing a major hand in the Jets winning the midfield battle, Caravella also provided the assist for Adam Taggart’s first goal which ultimately broke Wellington’s back.
Luke Brattan (Brisbane Roar): In a tense and pulsating game between the top two, neither could break the deadlock in the regulation 90 minutes. With a stubborn Melbourne Victory having looked to have postponed Brisbane’s grasp on the Premiers Plate for at least another week, Luke Brattan had other ideas as he produced a goal for the ages with a sublime strike in the second minute of stoppage time to secure top spot and begin the celebrations.
Marcelo Carrusca (Adelaide United): – as above
Seung-yong Kim (Central Coast Mariners): Credit where credits due. After taking some time to find his feet in the A-League, Kim blossomed in the win over the Heart. Arriving in Gosford after playing for some of the biggest clubs in Asia, Kim was always going to receive close attention from the league’s hard-nosed defensive midfielders when he arrived in Australia, but his class shone through at AAMI Park as his composure put the Mariners back on level terms and his influence went a long way to helping them to a valuable three points.
Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets): We can hear some saying, ‘surely not this guy again’, and while it was not his best game, it is hard not to include a player who just keeps on scoring. Another brace on the weekend has seen Taggart go clear top of the Golden Boot race. One thing you can’t doubt is his finishing and potency once he gets half a sniff of a goal, which was highlighted by his two goals against Wellington.
Bruce Djite (Adelaide United): This season Djite might not be up vying for Golden Boot honours, but the work he does up front in holding possession and doing the muscle work against opposing central defensive pairings to allow his wingers and attacking midfielders to flourish has made him a valuable asset to the Reds’ success. His textbook swivel and strike off his non preferred left foot to pierce the net and seal all three points against Sydney FC was just reward for another impressive performance from the Reds’ number 11.