Top 50 Australian players of 2017: 30-21

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

30. Ben Halloran 25, Heidenheim (Germany)

Rarely sighted since appearing for the Socceroos in Brazil four years ago, the Queenslander recently joined newly-promoted J-League outfit V-Varen Nagasaki.

Sixteen appearances in the German second division highlighted a frustrating 2017 where the winger failed to work his way back into the Socceroos squad despite recovering from a knee injury.

A move to the land of the rising sun might propel him back into the fold.

Ben Halloran Australia v South Africa international friendly 140526

29. Ryan McGowan 28, Guizhou (China) & Al-Sharjah (UAE)

The Adelaide-born defender enjoyed a mixed 2017 which saw him feature for the Socceroos at the Confederations Cup before losing his place in the starting XI during the final few rounds of World Cup qualification.

He traded Henan for Guizhou at the beginning of 2017 and despite being a starter for the Chinese side.

He departed mid-campaign for the Gulf with his new employers comically using his brother Dylan’s highlights reel upon his signature.

 

28. Joshua Brillante 24, Sydney FC (Australia)

The A-League’s most in-form midfielder has put a disappointing spell at Fiorentina behind him to become a vital component of Sydney FC’s all-conquering Championship winning side.

He has continued that form into this season and has missed just two minutes of league football while also adding several spectacular strikes to his resume.

Considered by somewhat to be unlucky to miss out on the World Cup squad four years ago, he is pushing hard for a spot on the plane to Russia.  

 

27. Alex Gersbach 20, Rosenborg (Norway)

Having made his senior national team debut in 2016, the ex-Sydney FC left-back kicked on in 2017 and made a further two appearances for the Green and Gold which included winning a penalty in the Confederations Cup game against Cameroon.

Mixed fortunes at club level have followed with Gersbach in and out of the starting XI in Trondheim, although he has featured in the Europa League and ultimately helped the club secure their 25th Norwegian Championship.

Alex Gersbach Rosenborg v Lillestrom Eliteserien 16052016

26. James Jeggo 25, Strum Graz (Austria)

A standout performer in the centre of the park for the side hailing from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s home town, Jeggo is one of many emerging central midfielders vying for a World Cup spot.

Yet to be capped at senior Socceroos level, Jeggo came into the squad in place of the injured Mile Jedinak at the Confederations Cup and will be looking to make his debut in 2018.

Eighteen league games and Europa League action this term have strengthened his case.

 

25. Mitchell Langerak 29, Stuttgart (Germany) & Levante (Spain)

The former Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper appeared to shrug off his tag of understudy having featured in all of Stuttgart’s 17 games in the second part of the 2016/17 campaign as he helped the Reds secure promotion back to the Bundesliga.

However, the arrival of German international Ron-Robert Zieler saw him demoted once more prior to a move to La Liga side Levante.

A lack of game time in Spain led to his recent switch to J-League side Nagoya Grampus.

 

24. Alex Wilkinson 33, Sydney FC (Australia)

The 16-time Socceroo remains the A-League most impressive defender and featured in every minute of league action for the Sky Blues in 2017, as they conceded just 18 goals in 29 league games. 

He has developed a formidable partnership with Dutchman Jordy Buijs and put past Grand Final heartache behind him to claim a maiden A-League crown in addition to FFA Cup success.

A Socceroos recall is potentially on the cards should he continue his excellent form.

 

23. Awer Mabil 22, Esbjerg (Denmark) & Pacos de Ferreira (Portugal)

Twenty-six league appearances across 2017 has seen the Kenyan-born winger make inroads in Europe after initially struggling to assert himself at Denmark's Midtyjlland.

Loaned out to Esbjerg, he was unable to help his side avoid relegation although did provide numerous bright spots throughout the season.

A move to Pacos de Ferreira has seen him became a regular starter and was rewarded for his efforts with a maiden Socceroos call-up last September.

 

22. Mustafa Amini 24, AGF (Denmark)

2017 saw the former Mariners teen prodigy receive his first Socceroos caps as he came on as a late substitute in World Cup qualifying games against Japan and Thailand.

At club level, he is a regular starter for his Aarhus-based employers who avoided relegation by a single point - with Amini featuring 33 times in the league over the course of the calendar year.

Alongside Brillante and Jeggo, he will be hopeful of sneaking into the 23-man squad for Russia.

Mustafa Amini AGF Danish Superliga

21. Robbie Kruse 29, Liaoning Whowin (China) & Bochum (Germany)

Somewhat unfairly criticised by numerous Socceroos fans, he featured in all but one of the national team’s games in 2017 with his opening strike securing an important 1-1 draw away to Syria in October.

After a difficult spell in China, he has returned back to form at club level having made 14 appearances for 2.Bundesliga side Bochum, scoring four times.

Injuries ruled him out of the 2014 World Cup and Kruse will no doubt be on the plane to Russia should he stay injury-free between now and then.

 

50-41: Top 50 Australian players of 2017

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40-31: Top 50 Australian players of 2017

Damir Kulas' top 50 Australian players of 2017 will resume on Friday with 20-11.

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

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