Top 50 Australian players of 2017: 20-11

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

20. Tim Cahill 38, Melbourne City (Australia)

Like many of his Australian teammates, Cahill had a Jekyll and Hyde year with respect to his club and national team commitments.

Six goals in 17 league appearances over the course of 2017 for Melbourne City culminated in his departure from the club in December following a falling out with head coach Warren Joyce.

For the Socceroos, he was instrumental by scoring two decisive goals against Syria as well as winning his 100th cap against Chile at the Confederations Cup.

 

19. Matthew Jurman 28, Suwon Bluewings (South Korea)

The centre-back took a step into the unknown at the beginning of 2017 by electing to swap high-flying Sydney FC for K-League Classic side Suwon Bluewings.

Jurman did not look back and excelled in his maiden season overseas by featuring in 25 league matches and helping his Korean side side qualify for the Asian Champions League.

A Socceroos debut in October against Syria was followed by three straight appearances in green and gold in a breakthrough year for the defender.

 

18. Milos Degenek 23, Yokohama F. Marinos (Japan)

Having made his Socceroos debut in 2016, the former Serbia U19 representative established himself in the side over the course of the calendar year, before being replaced by fellow Westfield Sports High alumni Jurman in the final two qualifiers against Honduras.

At club level, he jumped the sinking ship that was 1860 Munich and moved east to J-League's Yokohama F. Marinos and made 25 league appearances as his side finished fifth.

Coincidentally he will be managed by former national team mentor Ange Postecoglou this season.

 

17. Craig Goodwin 26, Sparta Rotterdam (Netherlands)

The South Australian played a fundamental role in securing Sparta’s survival during their first season back in the top flight.

In-and-out of the starting XI, he earned cult hero status amongst their fans for coming on and assisting twice and scoring once in a final day comeback win over the Go-Ahead Eagles which maintained their top-flight presence.

Despite failing to add to his three Socceroos caps, he was called up to the national team for the Syria and Honduras playoffs.

Craig Goodwin Sparta Rotterdam Eredivisie

16. James Troisi 29, Melbourne Victory (Australia)

One of the A-League’s most talented players, Troisi began slowly upon his return to AAMI Park but ultimately was a key driver in the Victory’s march to the Grand Final.

Having flirted with a move to Israel and cross-town rivals Melbourne City in the off-season, he re-signed with the Victory where he remains an essential first team player

A goal against Chile in the final Confederations Cup game was the highlight of his year in national colours.

 

15. Danny Vukovic 32, Sydney FC (Australia) & Genk (Belgium)

A momentous year for the shot-stopper both on and off-the-field, as he played an essential role in the Sky Blues record-breaking Championship success.

His form catapulted him into Socceroos contention as the understudy to Mat Ryan and Mitch Langerak at the Confederations Cup.

Vukovic headed to Genk in Belgium and has not looked back since, featuring 18 times in the league in addition to keeping clean sheets on 15 out of 32 league occasions in 2017.

 

14. Kenneth Dougall 24, Sparta Rotterdam (Netherlands)

The ex-Brisbane Roar Youth team player failed to make the grade in the A-League but has forged a professional career in the Eredivisie where his versatility makes him a valuable member of Dick Advocaat’s squad.

He has only missed 34 minutes of league football this campaign where he has been utilised in a number of different positions across midfield and defence.

A Socceroos birth beckons.

 

13. Trent Sainsbury 25, Internazionale (Italy) & Jiangsu Suning (China)

The West Australian defender would potentially be in the top 10 had he not seen so few minutes of league action over 2017.

A surprise loan spell at Italian giants Inter Milan saw him make the solitary substitute appearance while also finding game time under Fabio Capello at Jiangsu tough to come by.

For his country however, Sainsbury was instrumental - playing the most minutes and providing a reassuring presence in an ever-changing Socceroos backline.

Trent Sainsbury Socceroos

12. Mark Milligan 32, Baniyas (UAE) & Melbourne Victory (Australia)

The current Victory captain stepped up for the national team in the absence of the injured Jedinak whilst also featuring in the problem right-back position on a couple of occasions.

A penalty scorer against Cameroon at the Confederations Cup in Russia, he elected to return home to the A-League upon the completion of the tournament after a two-year spell in the Gulf with Baniyas.

Alongside Cahill, he is the only player in the squad looking to compete in his fourth World Cup.

 

11. Mile Jedinak 33, Aston Villa (England)

22 league games for the Villans is a fair return given the extent of the Socceroos’ captain’s injury woes over the course of the last year.

Nonetheless. he remains an important member of manager Steve Bruce’s promotion push alongside fellow veteran John Terry.

For the national team, Jedinak was sidelined with injury for the Confederations Cup but came good when it mattered most by scoring a hat-trick against Honduras to secure qualification for a fourth consecutive World Cup.

Mile Jedinak Australia

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

Damir Kulas' top 50 Australian players of 2017 will finish on Monday with top 10.

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

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