We take a look at the weekend's fixtures to select the Team of the Week for Round Five of the 2013/14 Hyundai A-League season.
The weekend-s fixtures were punctuated by new faces making the most of their opportunities, with Reddy and Cole both earning player of the match honours in their first starts of the season. There were also a few familiar faces in this week-s Team of the Week, with some players proving to be consistently high performers for their clubs in season nine. Here-s our Team of the Week for Round 5 of the 2013/14 Hyundai A-League.
Player of the Week: Liam Reddy Goalkeeping journeyman Liam Reddy put in an accomplished performance when drafted into the Mariners starting XI for their clash against the Roar. Now at his fifth Hyundai A-League club, Reddy was thrown a career lifeline by Graham Arnold this season and certainly made the most of his opportunity on debut. The 32-year-old made a string of fine saves throughout the contest and only a late thunderbolt from Kwame Yeboah prevented the champions taking a share of the points in Gosford.
Corey Brown Having signed a two year contract extension in the off-season, Corey Brown is one player seeking to make his mark in a star-studded Roar line-up. Deployed at left back for the match against the champions, the 19-year-old was a standout in repelling the Mariners offence. Brown was also a threatening option in attack, taking on an opponent on five occasions and earning a game high four fouls. His link up play with Socceroo Matt McKay was also a feature and suggests the Roar will be strong down the left flank this season.
Matthew Spiranovic Wanderers recruit Matthew Spiranovic was handed his first start by manager Tony Popovic in their clash against the Heart, replacing captain Michael Beauchamp in the starting XI. The 16-capped Socceroo fit in seamlessly to a Wanderers defence that has only conceded three goals so far this season and will ensure competition for a centre back spot in the red and black will be fierce throughout the season. Spiranovic was a composed figure on the ball and had a shot cannon off the crossbar as he seeks to return to full fitness.
Andrew Durante The Wellington Phoenix skipper has led a young Phoenix side by example this season and was again a calming influence at the back in their draw against the Glory. Durante notched just his third ever Hyundai A-League goal when he got a fortuitous touch on a Carlos Hernandez free kick to open the scoring in Christchurch. He was also reliable in the air getting up for six aerial duals. The recently converted All White was straight on a plane to Mexico as part of the New Zealand squad after the match and they-ll be relying on his defensive capabilities in their World Cup qualifier.
Scott Neville Scott Neville was another standout performer at the back in round five, which along with Brown sees him named in our fantasy XI for a second consecutive week. The Jets wing back had a team high 67 touches and won three fouls in the win over Adelaide. His distribution was assured playing out from the back and tackle efficiency was another highlight, winning the ball back on seven occasions. Newcastle have turned their season around on the back of their defence and the 24-year-old has marked himself as a consistent performer for Jets this season.
Sidnei Sciola Sciola was in the thick of things in attack for the Glory as they chased the game against the Phoenix. The Brazilian has built up a great combination with Scott Jamieson down the left flank this season as he seeks to make his mark on the A-League. It was one of these attacking raids that led to Perth-s equaliser. Sciola got past his man and burst down the wing before wrong-footing another Phoenix defender and setting up teammate Ryo Nagai, who was able to tuck the ball in the corner of the goal.
Mitch Nichols The combative Victory midfielder gets another nod in the team of the week, getting through a mountain of work in the eventful Big Blue derby. Nichols- combination with Socceroo Mark Milligan continues to go from strength to strength and his duel with Alessandro Del Piero in the middle of the park throughout the night was one of many highlights. The former Roar player has consistently been one of the Navy Blues best this season and is surely one former coach Ange Postecoglou will be keeping a close eye on for the national team.
Carlos Hernandez It-s not taken Carlos Hernandez long to remind Hyundai A-League fans of his capabilities since making his return. Linking up with former mentor Ernie Merrick at the Phoenix, the Costa Rican has been the Phoenix-s go to man in a strong attacking lineup. Hernandez has been a constant threat from deadball situations and it was a perfectly weighted freekick that saw Wellington take an early lead against Perth. The Costa Rican has been named in the squad to face Australia next week and is certainly one the Socceroos will have to watch.
Shannon Cole The Wanderers utility was handed his first start of the season and produced a man-of-the-match performance in the win over Heart. The 29-year-old was deployed on the right wing and proved more than adequate cover for the injured Youssouf Hersi. Cole-s positional play and work rate were apparent throughout the contest and he found himself in the right place to slot home what proved to be a decisive winner in the first half. Cole-s performance got better as the match wore on and he will certainly be hard to leave out of the XI for the Wanderers next match.
Alessando Del Piero The Sydney FC captain celebrated his 39th birthday and return from injury with a starring role in a dramatic Big Blue derby. Del Piero-s composure and skill on the ball saw him attract an amazing 12 fouls from a mesmerised Victory defence. It was one of these fouls in the box that saw the marquee man earn a penalty and Del Piero made no mistake from the spot to give the 10-man Sky Blues back their lead. The Italian had six shots on goal and two on target throughout the contest as he seeks to reprise his goal scoring form from last season.
Jeronimo Neumann The Adelaide frontman has had a hand in six of the seven goals the Reds have notched this season, and his attacking potency was again on display against the Jets. A definite fan favourite at Coopers Stadium, Jeronimo helped get his side back in the match late when he provided a pin-point cross for Fabio Ferreira to head home at the far post. The Argentine is thriving in the new system being deployed by coach Josep Gombau and will be one the Reds will turn to for goals in the coming weeks to help them climb the ladder.
HAVE YOU POWERED THE GAME YET?
Adelaide United fan Carl Watson supports the Reds by:
"WEARING RED AND CHEERING THE LADS ON WIN LOSE OR DRAW COYRS"