Top 50 Australian players of 2017: 40-31

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

40. Luke Brattan 27, Melbourne City (Australia)

Having failed to make a mark in England with Bolton in 2015-16, Brattan has returned to his best form with Melbourne City.

The Stoke-born midfielder has managed the managerial transition from Michael Valkanis to Warren Joyce well and has provided endless energy to the City cause over the calendar year.

A goal against Sydney last month might be a taste of things to come, with Brattan now deployed in a more advanced midfield position.

Luke Brattan Melbourne City

39. Golgol Mebrahtu 27, Mlada Boleslav (Czech Republic)

Many thought they had seen the last of the Sudanese-born striker of Eritrean descent upon his release by the Western Sydney Wanderers in 2016.

Yet Mebrahtu took a road less travelled and joined Czech outfit Mlada Boleslav.

A couple of hat-tricks, goals in Europa League qualifying and 14 league goals across the year earmarked a productive 2017 for the ex-Melbourne Heart forward - who is deemed to be an outside chance for a spot on the plane to Russia.


38. Matthew Spiranovic 29, Hangzhou Greentown (China)

A sole-national team appearance in the 2-0 defeat to Japan in late August characterised a largely frustrating year for the 35-cap Socceroo, who was being encouraged by former Soccerooc coach Ange Postecoglou to seek a change of scenery to boost his World Cup squad credentials.

Nonetheless, Spiranovic remains one of Australia’s best defenders with his Chinese employers looking more organised with the North Geelong Warriors youth product in their starting XI.


37. Ajdin Hrustic 21, Groningen (Netherlands)

The talented youngster rejected advances from Bosnia and Herzegovina to play for the nation of his birth and made his Socceroos debut against Brazil last June in front of a hometown crowd at the MCG.

His national-team call up came on the back of some bright displays in the Eredivisie off the bench with a maiden senior goal against John van’t Schip’s PEC Zwolle the highlight of his league campaign.

Began this season well with a start against Ajax but has fallen out of favour following a send-off in October.


36. Rhys Williams 29, Perth Glory & Melbourne Victory (Australia)

Former Socceroos defender Sasa Ognenovski recently said Williams would be a Premier League player at the moment had it not been for his long-history of injury heartache.

The ex-Middlesbrough captain found some form towards the tail end of the last campaign with Perth before moving to Melbourne Victory.

His commanding performances at the back for Muscat’s men have many singing his praises and urging for a Socceroos recall for the one-time Wales youth international.  

Rhys Williams Melbourne Victory

35. Brandon O’Neill 23, Sydney FC (Australia)

Seemingly unwanted at Perth Glory upon his departure from the club in 2015, O’Neill has transformed himself into one of the A-League’s best midfielders.

He has fended off competition for a starting spot from industrious Serb Milos Dimitrijevic and has not looked back with his midfield partnership with Joshua Brillante - by far the A-League's best.

A Socceroos call-up is not off the cards, particularly if O’Neill continues to impress in the league and ACL.


34. James Meredith 29, Bradford City & Millwall (England)

The son of a former professional squash player, the Albury-born defender made his Socceroos debut early in the qualifying campaign in 2015.

An admirable performer in League One for Bradford City, Meredith’s career has since gone from strength to strength before ending his five-year spell at Valley Parade mid-year having made 181 league appearances for City.

A move to the Championship and Millwall followed, with the left-back becoming an entrusted member of Ian Holloway’s playing squad.


33. Nikita Rukavytsya 30, Maccabi Haifa (Israel)

A surprise recall in Postecoglou’s World Cup qualifying play-off squads ended the Ukrainian-born forward’s four-year international exile having last appeared for the national team in the final days of Holger Osieck era.

The former Perth Glory sensation overcame injuries to feature 26 times in the league over the course of the calendar year, scoring four times for a Maccabi side struggling to return to former glories as they linger in middle-table mediocrity.


32. Josh Risdon 25, Perth Glory & Western Sydney Wanderers (Australia)

With A-League contemporaries Tarek Elrich and Rhyan Grant currently sidelined, Risdon grasped his Socceroos opportunity and was rewarded for his ongoing consistency with a position at the problem right full-back position in crucial World Cup qualifiers against Syria and Honduras.

Domestically, he ended his seven-year association with the home-state club Glory and headed eastwards in the hope of winning league silverware with the Wanderers.

Josh Risdon Perth Glory

31. Jamie Maclaren 24, Brisbane Roar (Australia), Darmstadt (Germany) & Hibernian (Scotland)

Upon his departure overseas, Maclaren was widely regarded as the best Australian marksman in the A-League having shared Golden Boot honours with Besart Berisha last campaign.

That form in addition to Socceroos minutes alerted recently relegated Bundesliga side Darmstadt who promptly signed the ex-Blackburn Rovers junior.

Seven substitute appearances have characterised his struggles in Germany with Maclaren joining Neil Lennon’s Hibernian on loan this week.


Article continues below

50-41: Top 50 Australian players of 2017

Damir Kulas' top 50 Australian players of 2017 will resume on Monday with 30-21.

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