Top 50 Australian players of 2017: 10-1

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Talented journalist Damir Kulas ranks his top 50 Australian footballers of 2017

10. Aziz Behich 27, Bursaspor (Turkey)

The ex-Melbourne Heart left-back recently made his 100th league appearance for Bursaspor, a far cry from his early struggles in Turkey.

A regular in their defence, he has scored five league goals this term and is one of the most impressive attacking full-backs in a star studded Turkish Super Lig.

At a national team level, he appears best-placed to be the Socceroos starting left-back in Russia after some solid performances in the green and gold.

 

9. Tomi Juric 26, Luzern (Switzerland)

Two key strikes against Saudi Arabia in June and another against Germany at the Confederations Cup were national team highlights for the Swiss-based marksman who has now established himself as Australia’s starting number nine.

At club level, he netted 10 goals in 32 league games over the course of the calendar year and in the process helped Luzern qualify for the Europa League qualifiers.

 

8. Tom Rogic 25, Celtic (Scotland)

Injury troubles have restricted the attacking midfielder’s league games to 19 appearances although he has still been a notable contributor to the Hoops unrivalled supremacy in Scotland while also featuring in the Champions League.

A winner against the Saudis in June was followed up by a leveller against Germany in Russia before playing a starring role in the 3-1 defeat of Honduras which ultimately secured passage to the World Cup.

Tom Rogic Celtic

7. Jackson Irvine 24, Burton Albion & Hull City (England)

Having enjoyed a breakthrough year at club and national team level, the one-time Celtic academy graduate netted his first Socceroos goal in March against the UAE.

Five further starts have followed and his ability to score from midfield make him a valuable asset for the incoming Socceroos coach.

At club level, he helped Nigel Clough’s unfancied Burton Albion secure Championship survival before making a big-money move to Hull City.

 

6. Massimo Luongo 25, Queens Park Rangers (England)

A regular week-in-week-out at Loftus Road, Luongo is a firm favourite of QPR boss Ian Holloway despite the club’s often inconsistent results in Championship.

One of their top performers this season, he featured in 40 league matches across 2017 as well as stepping up for the Socceroos when it mattered most.

An admirable display in the away draw to Honduras highlighted his continued importance to the national cause.

 

5. Bailey Wright 25, Bristol City (England)

A move to relegation-battling Bristol City seemed a huge risk at the beginning of 2017 for Wright, who was one of the Preston North End's longest-serving players.

However he quickly helped turn the tide and secured the Robins' Championship survival under manager Lee Johnson, with the Melbourne-born defender being part of their promotion and League Cup push this term.

For the Socceroos, he matured and established himself at the heart of the defence, playing over 50 games for club and country in 2017.

Bailey Wright Bristol City

4. Brad Jones 35, Feyenoord (Netherlands)

Originally signed as an understudy by the Dutch giants, the former Liverpool custodian had a dream season in Rotterdam.

32 league games under Giovanni van Bronckhorst saw him earn 17 clean sheets and play and instrumental role in Feyenoord’s first league title since 1999.

With that he featured in the Champions League and is one of the Eredivisie’s most in-form goalkeepers.

Despite this, a Socceroos recall seems unlikely for a player finally thriving having served as a back-up for much of his career.

 

3. Mathew Leckie 26, Ingolstadt & Hertha Berlin (Germany)

Crucial goals and performances on the path to Russia characterised Leckie’s national team endeavours in 2017 as the winger doubled his Socceroos goal tally thanks to strikes against Iraq, the UAE and Thailand.

At club level, he could not prevent Ingolstadt from escaping the drop although his move to the German capital with Hertha Berlin has seen him rediscover his best form which has included four Bundesliga goals so far this campaign while also appearing in the Europa League.

 

2. Mathew Ryan 25, Genk (Belgium) & Brighton Hove & Albion (England)

Frustrated with his marginalised position at the Mestalla, Ryan returned to Belgium at the beginning of the year looking to rediscover his best form with Europa League participants Genk.

He helped them reach the quarter-finals of the competition and appeared 17 times in the league, keeping 10 clean sheets.

That form prompted newly-promoted Brighton to acquire his signature and the ex-Mariner is impressing in his debut season in the English top flight.

Additionally, he played his part with several key saves throughout the latter stages of qualifying and started all three games at the Confederations Cup.

Mat Ryan, Brighton

1. Aaron Mooy 27, Huddersfield Town (England)

No Australian player featured in more games of league football than Mooy who was one of Huddersfield’s best performers in their surprise promotion to the Premier League.

Winners against Newcastle, Manchester United and a double against Watford have been highlights in a superb campaign so far for the midfielder who will no doubt look to ensure the Terriers top-flight status in the coming months.

For the national team, Mooy has at times underwhelmed but was still an essential component of the side which qualified for Russia and featured at the Confederations Cup.

 

50-41: Top 50 Australian players of 2017

40-31: Top 50 Australian players of 2017

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30-21: Top 50 Australian players of 2017

20-11: Top 50 Australian players of 2017

You can provide feedback to the list via @DamirKulas on Twitter.

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