Ten Players To Watch This A-League Season

Goal.com names the men who will light up Australia's premier domestic competition.
Nick Carle
Club: Sydney FC
Position: Attacking Midfielder

A former Johnny Warren Medal winner, Carle returns to the A-League after a mixed spell on the continent that saw him fail to permanently break into the national team set up. He is an individual who divides opinion when it comes to his potential role with the Socceroos though there is no questioning his raw talent as a playmaker. One of the few genuine ‘Number 10s’ in the competition this season, he joins the defending champions as a direct replacement for the departed Steve Corica. Carle boasts a sharp turn, exquisite touch, versatile passing game and most importantly, an ability to win matches on his own with moments of individual brilliance.

Marcos Flores

Club: Adelaide United
Position: Attacking Midfielder

Another recently arrived playmaker, Flores isn’t a new signing but this will be his first opportunity to settle into A-League life after a brief flirt at the end of last season. Where he made his mark most was in Adelaide’s recent Asian Champions League campaign, turning in some outstanding performances and giving the Reds the sort of creativity that they so desperately lacked last campaign. Can create and score in equal measure.

Simon Colosimo

Club: Melbourne Heart
Position: Central Defender

Arguably the A-League’s most consistent player last season, Colosimo was desperately unlucky not to be included in Pim Verbeek’s World Cup squad. Lead Sydney FC to an A-League title and is a huge signing for new club Melbourne Heart, who will be relying on him to use his ball-playing abilities to build from the back. Colosimo’s positional sense and calm under pressure are definitive characteristics of his style of play, making him the most aesthetically pleasing and effective centre-back in the country.

Carlos Hernandez

Club: Melbourne Victory
Position: Attacking Midfielder

Hernandez is a rather more combative alternative to the aforementioned Flores and Carle, drawing strength from his stocky build and deadly accuracy from range. Constantly a threat from set pieces and virtually from any position in open play, he boasts the competition’s most fearsome shot and is most effective when he is able to combine his strength with an underrated ability to create space for himself and his teammates on the ball. Last season’s Johnny Warren Medal winner will be at the heart of almost all of the Victory’s attacking forays this season.

Paul Ifill | Last season's surprise packet

Jason Culina
Gold Coast United
Position: Central Midfielder

As one of the first senior Socceroos to return to the A-League whilst still at the peak of his powers in Europe, the media focus on Culina was always going to be inevitable. His importance to fledgling franchise Gold Coast United has only been heightened by their administrative dramas last season, with constant rumours about the viability of what should have been the competition’s new ‘glamour club’. As the face of the club and the competition as a whole, his presence in the media is arguably as important as his performances on the pitch, where he will be asked to hold together the United midfield again this season. Has the experience and ability to shoulder both attacking and defensive burdens in the centre of the park.

Jade North
Wellington Phoenix
Position: Central Defender

It wasn’t so long ago that North was one of the A-League’s most formidable defenders before deciding to try his hand overseas, his disastrous spell in Asia in particular certainly not reflective of his class as a footballer. He returns to the competition with the task of rebuilding his reputation somewhat after failing to make the Australia squad for the 2010 World Cup, signed by the New Zealand club in the wake of Jon McKain’s departure. Will look to use his return to cement himself permanently in the national team fold.

Tarek Elrich

Club: Newcastle Jets
Position: Right Back

No matter what the fortunes of the volatile Jets may be, they can rely on their one constant in Tarek Elrich week after week. The former Sydney Olympic player often goes unnoticed when it comes to end of season accolades but at the tender age of 23 he represents one of the nation’s brightest playing prospects. Combines pace, endurance and composure in the final third, making him the most dangerous right back in the competition and one of the most exciting players to watch.

Carlos Hernandez | Johnny Warren medal winner

Paul Ifill
Wellington Phoenix
Position: Striker

One of the surprise packages last season after joining the Phoenix from English football, his dynamic, aggressive style inspired the club to a memorable appearance in the finals series. Doesn’t hesitate to run at opponents and drive into the penalty box, a trait that enabled him to wreak havoc on opposing defences and a weapon will look to utilize time and again this season.

Scott Jamieson
Sydney FC
Position: Left Back/Left Midfield

A recognised rising star of the A-League, Jamieson seems destined for another crack at European football after returning to Australia following a sting with English Premier League club Bolton. He was the bright spark for Adelaide over the past couple of seasons and earned himself a senior national team debut by virtue of his cavalier performances at left back. Energetic and quick, he often dominates the flank on which he operates and provides a constant outlet of qualities deliveries into the penalty area.

Josip Skoko
Melbourne Heart
Position: Central Midfielder

After a 15-year European career Skoko returns a seasoned veteran who will offer an abundance of experience and technical quality to the Heart. Will compensate for a lack of pace with a cultured passing game and shooting ability from range, he has signed on as the inaugural marquee player for the new Melbourne club and will be required to lead them in every respect this season as they look to establish themselves in a competition that has been recently unforgiving to new franchises.

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