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Top 50 Australian players of 2017: 50-41

20:39 GMT 10/01/2018
Dimitri Petratos Newcastle Jets
Talented journalist Damir Kulas ranks his top 50 Australian footballers of 2017 - starting with 50-41

50. Connor Chapman 23, Incheon United (South Korea)

The former Melbourne City defender traded the A-League for the K-League last January and has not looked back since as he played a key role in helping Incheon stave off relegation.

The AIS Graduate has often been deployed as a defensive midfielder and will look to Matthew Jurman’s rise to Socceroos stardom as a source of inspiration as he searches for his maiden national team cap having captained Australia at the U17 World Cup in Mexico in 2011.


49. Tommy Oar 26, Brisbane Roar & APOEL (Cyprus)

A mixed year for the winger who has fallen off the Socceroos radar since the beginning of the 2018 World Cup qualification campaign.

Oar returned to form in the A-League with the Roar before rejecting offers from Asia in favour of a move to Cypriot giants APOEL.

Life in Nicosia began well with Oar playing a part in their qualification for the Champions’ League group stage only to be left out of the squad by the new manager and has appeared sporadically in the league since.

48. Dylan McGowan 26, Adelaide United & Pacos de Ferreira (Portugal)

The centre-back hit form towards the tail end of the campaign in which he finished as Adelaide's top goal scorer in the league.

A Socceroos debut against Brazil at the MCG and place on the plane to Russia for the Confederations Cup followed, however the younger brother of Ryan has not kicked on as expected since moving to Portugal, having seen no game time in the league so far this term.

A search for game time prompted his recent loan move to K-League side Gangwon.


47. Jason Davidson 26, Groningen (Netherlands) & Rijeka (Croatia)

Loaned out to Eredivisie side Groningen having seen little game time under David Wagner at Huddersfield Town, the former West Brom defender was an ever-present starter in the final ten league fixtures of the season.

Unwanted in West Yorkshire, he moved to the Adriatic Coast by signing for Croatian champions Rijeka but is yet to feature for Matjaz Kek’s team in the league.

2017 has also seen Davidson fall out of the Socceroos picture.


46. Dimitri Petratos 25, Brisbane Roar, Ulsan Hyundai (South Korea) & Newcastle Jets

Currently one of the A-League’s most in-form players, the wide forward began the year with a bang with his rocket of a free-kick for the Roar being one of the goals of the season.

A move to Korea saw him struggle to stamp down a starting spot, being largely restricted to appearances in the ACL.

A return to the A-League has seen the former Sydney FC attacker play a lead role in the Jets resurgence up the table under the tutelage of Ernie Merrick.

45. Mitchell Duke 26, Shimizu S-Pulse (Japan)

Duke left the A-League three years ago as a striker but now primarily features on the wing in the J-League.

He has helped Shimizu consolidate their top-flight status in a season which marked their return to the Japanese top tier.

His last Socceroo cap came over four years ago but like Petratos is considered to be somewhat of a bolter for a spot on the plane to Russia.


44. Nick Ansell 23, Melbourne Victory & Tondela (Portugal)

The A-League Championship winner played a key part in Victory’s march to the Grand Final only for spot-kicks to deny his side a record fourth A-League triumph.

Surprisingly he left the club after to pursue opportunities overseas and ultimately joined Portuguese Liga outfit Tondela.

The ex-Olyroo is teammates at the club with former Wellington Phoenix forward Tyler Boyd and started the club’s away league fixture against giants Sporting in October.


43. Michael Zullo 29, Sydney FC

Although beginning his career further forward, the former Utrecht winger has been converted into a left-back in the past few years and is currently the domestic competition’s best full-back.

One of Graham Arnold’s most trusted lieutenants, he could find himself back in the national-team shirt should the Sydney FC supremo be named as the next Socceroos boss.


42. Brad Smith 23, Bournemouth (England)

A frustrating year for the ex-Liverpool full-back who failed to see many minutes for Bournemouth with Charlie Daniels holding down his place at left-back.

The lack of game time at club level appeared to hamper his Socceroos form with Smith’s starting spot in the national team XI constantly in question.

He missed the Confederations Cup through injury with an ongoing hip complaint.

41. Mark Birighitti 26, Swansea City (Wales) & NAC Breda (Netherlands)

The former Newcastle Jets shot-stopper is making strides in Europe having spent the 2016-17 campaign as Swansea’s fourth-choice goalkeeper.

Nonetheless his time at the Liberty Stadium proved to be an essential learning curve prior to his move to Eredivisie side NAC Breda.

He currently commands the first-choice spot for the promoted Breda, who find themselves hovering above the relegation zone.

Damir Kulas' top 50 Australian players of 2017 will resume on Friday with 40-31.

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