Hyundai A-League Team of the Week: Round 26

Sydney FC toppled the new Premiers, Newcastle Jets delivered a six-goal salvo and Wellington Phoenix thrilled us all with a dramatic late win. But which players made the Hyundai A-League Team of Round 26?

We have assessed all five matches and selected the stand-out eleven, with a coach thrown in for good measure!

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Goalkeeper

Filip Kurto (Wellington Phoenix)

With Melbourne City dominating possession and chances, Polish shot-stopper Filip Kurto kept Wellington Phoenix in the game before Roy Krishna's dramatic late winner.

Kurto made seven saves in total and put together a highlight reel which included two sets of double saves to frustrate Jamie Maclaren and company. 

The 27-year-old could do little about Riley McGree's two goals. He marshalled his backline and commanded his area with expertise, while also showing good distribution throughout.

Defenders

Rhyan Grant (Sydney FC)

It was a night dedicated to one of Sydney FC's finest sons, the retiring Alex Brosque, but tributes for Rhyan Grant will have been flooding in too after the fullback's exhibition display in his side's 1-0 win over Perth Glory on Friday.

Grant is in career-best form for the Sky Blues, and the flying right-back turned in a breathless display for the visit of the Premiers.

In it, the Caltex Socceroo patrolled the right flank with usual lung-busting zeal, tallying 92 touches (only topped in Sky Blue colours by midfielder Brandon O'Neill), winning three of his four tackles, three interceptions and nine of his thirteen duels.

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Rhyan Grant is in career-best form for Sydney FC

Michael Marrone (Adelaide United)

Marco Kurz has asked his right-back to plug a hole in the centre of defence and Michael Marrone, ever the professional, has not let his boss down.

The 32-year-old rose to the challenge on Friday night as, alongside Michael Jakobsen, he completely quelled Melbourne Victory's star-studded attack.

Marrone won 64 per cent of his 14 duels and didn't concede a foul all game.

Michael Marrone and Ola Toivonen
Michael Marrone kept Ola Toivonen in check at Coopers Stadium

Jack Clisby (Central Coast Mariners)

Central Coast's confidence on the ball allowed their full-backs to get forward with regularity against Western Sydney Wanderers.

Jack Clisby certainly made the most of his opportunities as he delivered a game-high nine crosses and made 25 passes in the opposition half.

One of his several fine deliveries was the corner from which Kye Rowles scored the third of the Mariners' three goals.

 

Midfielders

Angus Thurgate (Newcastle Jets)

He might only be 19, but Angus Thurgate already looks a player at home in the Hyundai A-League.

The teenage midfielder made his second start for Newcastle at Suncorp Stadium and was one of the key architects of the 6-1 hiding of Brisbane Roar.

Thurgate topped his team's tally for passes (66) and interceptions (four), registered an assist for the opening goal, and won 60 per cent of his 15 duels.

Angus Thurgate


Mirko Boland (Adelaide United)

Adelaide worked tirelessly for three points against Melbourne Victory and nobody more so than Mirko Boland.

The midfielder contributed game-high numbers for tackles (seven) and interceptions (five) in a terrier-like performance that helped to suffocate Kevin Muscat's side.

Had he not been there, Keisuke Honda might have enjoyed room to breathe.

Mirko Boland and Keisuke Honda
Mirko Boland never let Keisuke Honda stray far from his sight

Joey Champness (Newcastle Jets)

You have to wonder what might have been for Newcastle Jets this season had Joey Champness enjoyed a better run with injury.

The talented winger started for the third time on Saturday and tormented former club Brisbane Roar, scoring twice and laying on one for Roy O'Donovan.

His dribbling in wide areas is a joy to watch - hopefully we will be treated to more next term.


Riley McGree (Melbourne City)

Riley McGree provided the bright spark which almost clinched a share of the points for a Melbourne City side who are usually goal-shy on the road. 

The 20-year-old showed composure beyond his years to guide his two strikes into the bottom corners of Kurto's net and combined excellently with Maclaren throughout a match that City dominated.

McGree was the driving force behind much of City's attacks, pulling the strings from the middle as the visitors controlled the game with 60% of the possession.

 

Forwards

Adam Le Fondre (Sydney FC)

It ranks near rock-bottom in terms of its magnificence, but how important will Adam Le Fondre's match-winner against Perth Glory be in the complexion of Sydney FC's season?

The English marksman bundled home the only goal of his side's 1-0 win after customarily pouncing at the back post for his 16th of the season. 

Sydney FC appear to be getting their groove back in front of goal, and Le Fondre's overall contribution in attack yielded his side's brightest opportunities on the night.

Having led his side to a morale-boosting victory, the ex-Premier League sharpshooter will be crucial in mounting a finals series-assault for Steve Corica's side.

Adam Le Fondre scored his 16th goal of the campaign on Friday

Matt Simon (Central Coast Mariners)

Matt Simon had never scored against Western Sydney prior to Saturday night.

Now he's done it twice.

Central Coast's bullocking captain turned in a typically lion-hearted performance in Gosford and allied that effort to two expert finishes, the first an unstoppable free-kick that exposed the away side's shoddy wall and the second a clinical penalty.


Roy Krishna (Wellington Phoenix)

Roy Krishna's evening will go down in Wellington Phoenix history.

His first goal showed his explosive ability to destroy a defence on the counter-attack, with a deft finish thrown in. His second goal showcased his knack to create an opportunity for himself in a congested penalty area and add a killer finish. His third goal proved how lethal his instincts are in the six-yard box, improvising to scramble in a dramatic stoppage-time winner. 

Krishna set a new club record for goals in a Hyundai A-League season, he became the first Phoenix player to score 50 Hyundai A-League goals and he fired himself to the top of the golden boot standings. A good night's work by the Fijian flyer!

Coach

Mark Rudan (Wellington Phoenix)

In his first match in front of the Nix faithful since announcing he would be departing at the season's end, Mark Rudan produced the goods against Melbourne City.

Rudan deployed David Williams as a make-shift wing back and started Max Burgess in support of Krishna, which paid off handsomely. He set Phoenix up to absorb the pressure Joyce's team were bringing, while maintaining a constant threat on the counter-attack.

Before the game, captain Andrew Durante spoke of his respect for Rudan's service throughout the season and his players' desire right up until their 94th minute winner was apparent. Post-match Krishna revealed Rudan had worked closely with the three-goal striker in midweek to help revive his form.  

Mark Rudan

 

Mark Rudan sign