Shinji Ono.
Shinji Ono.

No del Piero in A-League’s Team of the Decade

CHOOSING an A-League team of the decade is as much about who you leave out as who you include, but it also reflects the teams that have dominated over the past 10 years.

Key figures from the Mariners, Brisbane, the Wanderers and Sydney FC make this XI, because their individual ability helped beget team success.

Not selecting Alessando del Piero, Rhyan Grant, Bruno Fornaroli, Erik Paartalu and Bobo - or at least putting them on the bench - is a tough call.

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But the members of this XI showed their durability and excellence on a consistent basis … it would make for a heck of an All-Stars team, if that concept still existed.

GOALKEEPER

Mat Ryan

Brighton's keeper made 80 appearances for the Mariners, and matured from a gawky teenager into a polished, confident performer - and won the A-League.

Matthew Ryan has kicked on to the Premier League. Picture: Nathan Richter
Matthew Ryan has kicked on to the Premier League. Picture: Nathan Richter

DEFENDERS

IVAN FRANJIC

Rhyan Grant is the best rightback in the A-League, but Franjic has been up there for a long time. Good enough to go to a World Cup and win the Asian Cup, as well as win two A-League titles and an FFA Cup.

MATT SMITH

Hugely underrated for a defender who won three A-League titles with Brisbane, Smith was one of the most influential members of the all-conquering Brisbane Roar squad as a natural leader.

ALEX WILKINSON

No player has been more consistent over the years, and is unlucky not have won more caps for his country. Wilkinson's positional sense is uncanny at times.

Sydney FC captain Alex Wilkinson has been a leader at every club he has played for.
Sydney FC captain Alex Wilkinson has been a leader at every club he has played for.

JOSH ROSE

One of the most reliable players to ply their trade in the A-League, the leftback showed how doing the simple things well, over and over again, makes you hugely valuable to your team.

MIDFIELDERS

MATT MCKAY

Perhaps the most controversial inclusion, but McKay was a vital cog in Brisbane's success and showed that success in the A-League could translate into international recognition.

MARK MILLIGAN

From the shy leftback picked for the 2006 World Cup to a snarling midfield enforcer, Milligan matured into a driving force of a player who bossed a grand final.

ATTACKERS

MILOS NINKOVIC

Ninkovic would have to play out of position on the right side here, and would do so gladly because that's the kind of player he is. He would also do so with deft brilliance, because that's the kind of player he is.

SHINJI ONO

Shinji Ono build the Wanderers.
Shinji Ono build the Wanderers.

Has to be included because more than any other player he was responsible for the Wanderers emerging as a fully formed giant of the A-League. Some of his goals went down in WSW history.

THOMAS BROICH

The poster boy for Brisbane's symphonic football under Ange Postecoglou, Broich brought real style to the A-League, as well as a brilliantly understated sense of humour. Twice won the Johnny Warren Medal.

Thomas Broich was integral to Brisbane Roar’s success. Picture: Getty Images
Thomas Broich was integral to Brisbane Roar’s success. Picture: Getty Images

STRIKER

BESART BERISHA

Polite and quietly spoken off the pitch, Berisha has always been the ultimate street fighter on it - oh, and a ruthless finisher to boot. One of the finest strikers Australia has imported, his connection with Broich was uncanny.

News Corp Australia


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