Who stood head and shoulders above the rest in Hyundai A-League Round 18?
We’ve assessed the contenders from another thrilling round of action and employed a 3-4-2-1 formation to house the best performers.
Do you agree with our selections? Let us know!
Glen Moss (Newcastle Jets)
Two Kiwi goalkeepers dominated the headlines with outstanding displays in Newcastle Jets’ enthralling 1-1 draw with Wellington Phoenix back on Thursday.
And while it seems cruel for one of Newcastle’s Glen Moss and Phoenix’s Oli Sail to miss out on selection this round, we’ve opted for the former given his gutsy last-ditch penalty save to deny Roy Krishna from the penalty spot.
That intervention may just be the turning point of the Jets’ season. It prevented Phoenix from streaking 11 points clear of Ernie Merrick’s side, and with it the Hyundai A-League veteran tallied a record 10th penalty save in the competition, surpassing Ante Covic.
Moss also brilliantly parried David Williams’ goal-bound header during a first-half exhibition of his agility.
Michael Jakobsen (Adelaide United)
Adelaide United’s Danish defender has rarely put a foot wrong for Marco Kurz this season, and he resonated his usual calm to steer the Reds through a difficult away challenge at Melbourne City.
Jakobsen made a match-high six clearances and made two interceptions to ensure United negated the Jamie Maclaren-led firepower posed by City on Saturday night and came away with a crucial point in the top six race.
Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar)
Brisbane’s inspirational midfield dynamo turned in the ultimate backs to the wall performance to help Brisbane stun Sydney FC 2-1 on Friday night.
With an already undermanned Roar back four decimated by injury in the first half, McKay was forced to play as a left-sided centre back and somehow kept the Sky Blues at bay.
His 1.71-metre frame proved of colossal importance in guiding a makeshift Brisbane to their finest moment of the 2018/19 campaign so far.
Tarek Elrich (Western Sydney Wanderers)
It was a weekend for some of the more seasoned Hyundai A-League professionals, and Tarek Elrich stood among this elite group with a real leader’s performance against Central Coast Mariners.
Stationed on the left, Elrich used all of his experience to help his side over the line – accruing more touches on the ball, an equal team-high three interceptions and five clearances to boot.
This all sat alongside his first goal for the Wanderers – a cross-turned-shot which caught Ben Kennedy off guard and teed up Western Sydney’s first win in two months.
Ritchie De Laet (Melbourne City)
It was a night headlined by the return of Jamie Maclaren, but Melbourne City’s dynamic Belgian played his part to remind City fans just how good a signing he’s been for Warren Joyce.
Ritchie De Laet patrolled the right flank with typically formidable menace, and with City now boasting a new-look three-man frontline there’s every chance the Premier League winner grows more influential than he already is in the pointy end of the campaign.
Jason Davidson (Perth Glory)
Glory turned in a superb away performance in their top-of-the-table trip to second-placed Melbourne Victory, establishing a measure of control in the first half and then outmuscling their title rivals in the second 45 minutes.
The left-sided Davidson was dutiful in defence and instrumental in prising apart Kevin Muscat’s men – it was his clever header the enabled Chris Ikonomidis to create Diego Castro’s sealer in the 2-1 triumph.
He also contested a team-high 12 duels and recouped possession more times than any other player at AAMI Park.
Roly Bonevacia (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Roly Bonevacia is in club-best form for Western Sydney Wanderers, and the midfielder was the star of the show in the 2-0 win over Central Coast Mariners.
Moving into a more central role following Kwame Yeboah’s early departure, the Dutchman was the funnel through which all of the good aspects of Wanderers’ performance flowed.
Bonevacia registered a lovely assist for Jaushua Sotirio’s match-sealer and created seven chances overall – since the start of the 2012/13 Season, only Shinji Ono and Alexander Baumjohann have created more in a single match for the Wanderers.
Neil Kilkenny (Perth Glory)
It’s four penalties taken, four penalties scored for Perth’s midfield general this term and none have been more important than the one he converted against Victory.
Kilkenny’s spot-kick was too powerful for Lawrence Thomas and sent Glory on their way to a seven-point lead at the top of the table.
The goal rounded out a typically industrious display in which the 33-year-old’s poise and positioning helped subdue the likes of Terry Antonis and James Troisi.
David Williams (Wellington Phoenix)
Denied by a splendid Moss save in the first half, Phoenix forward Williams persisted at McDonald Jones Stadium and was rewarded a well-taken equaliser in the 58th minute.
The former Australia international coolly swept home Louis Fenton’s cut-back to ensure the visitors maintained their eight-point buffer to seventh-placed Newcastle.
Williams, who now boasts six goals for the season, also laid on two key passes and registered four tackles to go with his 25 duels in a tireless 90-minute showing.
Craig Goodwin (Adelaide United)
Goodwin continued his incredible season in Adelaide’s 1-1 stalemate with Melbourne City on Saturday night.
The Reds attacker opened the scoring with a cleanly dispatched header, reinforcing his status as his team’s goal-scoring focal point on an evening that heralded a Hyundai A-League debut for Dutch striker Jordy Thomassen.
How Marco Kurz will hope his new recruit can alleviate the attacking burden that Goodwin has shouldered this campaign – his first-half strike was the winger’s ninth of the season, and he has now directly influenced 54% of Adelaide’s goals in 2018/19.
Dylan Wenzel-Halls (Brisbane Roar)
Brisbane needed to dig in to turn it around against Sydney FC, and no one symbolised their gutsy, never-say-die show of character more than Dylan Wenzel-Halls.
The Hyundai A-League rookie led Brisbane’s resistance from the front and simply never stopped running against the Sky Blues; it was his desire to charge down Ben Warland’s clearance that saw him slam home a euphoric winner at Suncorp Stadium in the last minute of normal time.
A budding partnership with Adam Taggart – also sensational against the reigning Premiers – looks to be a real plus for the Roar and, having opened his account against Adelaide in Round 17, Wenzel-Halls could be a key figure in helping Roar finish the season on a high note.
Darren Davies – Brisbane Roar
It’s been tough going for Brisbane’s interim boss following the departure of John Aloisi, but the Welshman finally got off the mark against Sydney FC.
With his team lurching toward a defensive crisis of catastrophic proportions, Darren Davies almost took it upon himself to direct Roar’s cobbled-together rearguard as his relentless field-marshal style barking from the sidelines echoed around Suncorp Stadium to inspire an upset victory.
The Queenslanders’ triumph will go down as one of the unlikely victories of the season, and the character displayed on the pitch all stemmed from the man in the dugout.