Without further ado, it’s time for me to reveal my best 11 for Hyundai A-League season 2011/12, complete with subs in case anyone upsets the gaffer.
The PFA named their Team of the Year and the Hyundai A-League has given their end of season awards, but surely what players really want is recognition in ‘The Offsider-s- Team of the Year.
Without further ado, it-s time for me to reveal my best 11, plus four substitutes, in case anyone irritates the gaffer Carlos Tevez style.
Formation you ask? How about 4-3-1-2.
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Ante Covic (Melbourne Victory): The Victory keeper made the most saves of any shot-stopper (109) in season 2011/12 and he did it with what was arguably the flimsiest defence.
At 36 years of age Covic showed he still had what was required to play at an elite level, and went on to win the Victory Medal, seconds before the door at AAMI Park hit him swiftly on the posterior. Unwanted by Ange Postecoglou, someone should pick this guy up.
Josh Rose (Central Coast Mariners): The only thing Josh Rose didn-t do this season was get a well-deserved crack at the very problematic Socceroos left back position.
Tough in defence and a constant threat in attack, Rose can do it all and has been one of the Mariners- best in Asia throughout their Champions League campaign.
Patrick Zwaanswijk (Central Coast Mariners): Could be considered to have been unlucky not to take out the Johnny Warren Medal, the likeable Dutchman formed part of one of the best central defences in the league with Mariners- captain Alex Wilkinson.
‘Zwanny- showed on many occasions he is not just a defender and could score from long range, the penalty spot or even from a header.
Matt Smith (Brisbane Roar): The Roar captain had another stellar season marshalling his troops and settling into his partnership with Mohamed Adnan.
Known to be one tough cookie he proved it when he smashed Shane Smeltz-s nose all over his face in a sickening collision in the grand final. Who said football wasn-t a contact sport?
Josh Risdon (Perth Glory): Did any player break the mould like Josh Risdon this season? Well there are a couple but his rise from reserves player to first team star was meteoric.
The young Sandgroper was not only extremely solid at the back for the Glory, but his ability to read the play and speed going forward were extremely important for the Glory, he was also a contender for hair style of the year.
Thomas Broich (Brisbane Roar): The Johnny Warren medallist oozes class and could not be a more laid back person, one gets the sense Broich knows just how good he is/can be and is always a threat to absolutely dominate a game.
Set up Brisbane for numerous attacks and goals throughout the season, he is one of the most dangerous players in the A-League. Perhaps a testament to his talent is that Brisbane look completely lost when he is not there.
Fred (c) (Melbourne Heart): Captain of the PFA team of the Year and captain here as well, the industrious Brazilian has had success at every team he has played for and was the catalyst behind the Heart-s rise towards the top of the league this year, like Brisbane and Broich, the Heart lost theirs without their skipper.
His pace and skill on the ball stand him out as does his ability to deliver the ball to his front men or score a goal himself.
Nick Carle (Sydney FC): This role could have gone to numerous players, not least of all his Sky Blues teammate Brett Emerton, but at the end of the day Carle went a long way to silencing his usually vocal detractors throughout the season, especially early on.
He was also a key player in Sydney FC-s run to the finals and earned back a Socceroos jersey, not a bad year for the talented midfield maestro.
Attacking midfielder (number 10)
Harry Kewell (Melbourne Victory): It may have taken the biggest signing in the history of the league to hit his stride, but once he did Kewell was dominant.
His combination with Carlos Hernandez, his individual brilliance, tireless work ethic and ability to score a goal when it mattered make him a great option here.
Perhaps fans expected too much from him, but looking back he did deliver and tried in vain to lift his club into the finals, we all just hope he comes back bigger and better in season 2012/13.
Besart Berisha (Brisbane Roar): Loved by Roar fans, loathed by anyone else, wherever he went controversy followed… just ask Pascal Bosschart and Issey Nakajima-Faran.
Might be a case of white line fever because off the field he is quietly spoken and quite affable.
Regardless of that, one thing stands out about him, he knows where the goals are. No player scores 19 of them in the regular season without having some quality, does he poach in the box like Ruud Van Nistelrooy, a little but very few in the top echelons of football ever said the Dutchman couldn-t play.
Shane Smeltz (Perth Glory): Chased Berisha all the way in the race for the Nike Golden Boot and all the way to the grand final.
A big part of why Perth made it so far in the post-season, his Grand Final was marred by a nasty facial injury, but with 17 goals for the season in all manner of situations, he has to go in to the Team of the Year.
Graham Arnold (Central Coast Mariners): A top year for Arnie with the Mariners claiming the Premier-s Plate, which the Roar were expected to win and he did it while losing some key personnel. Where will he be next year?
Mat Ryan (Central Coast Mariners): I can hear the howling now! The good old Offsider didn-t give Golden Gloves Ryan, well… the Golden Gloves, but the bottom line is he didn-t have as much to do as Covic, with the best back four in the league in front of him.
The kid has plenty of talent though and has a big future.
Ben Sigmund (Wellington Phoenix): Stirring up Shane Smeltz pre-elimination final didn-t serve him well, but ‘Siggy- had a huge year across the ditch, claiming all their awards, and a spot in the Team of the Year for the no-nonsense fullback is just reward.
Ben Halloran (Gold Coast United): Clive Palmer said Halloran deserved a spot in the spluttering Australia Under 23s team… and you know what he was right. This speedy kid struck fear in the heart of many a defence and if he learns to take one less touch and pull the trigger he could really be something special.
Paul Ifill (Wellington Phoenix): Could have filled the role ‘Arry has in this team, but at the end of the day, Kewell-s season was a little more impressive, may have just turned one or two more defenders inside out than the Barbadian sensation.
The views in this column are those solely of the author, not the Hyundai A-League or FFA.