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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 12 October 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 12 OCTOBER 2019 27 SPORT Ikonomidis named PFA U23 Men’s Footballer of the Year On the eve of a new A-League season, Perth Glory and Socceroos winger Chris Ikonomidis has received another accolade for his achievements on both domestic and international stages for the 2018/19 season. This week his peers named him the recipient of Professional Footballers Australia's (PFA) U23 Men's Footballer of the Year, also known as the Harry Kewell medal. He received the award from former Socceroos great, Stan Lazaridis who was also a teammate of Kewell's. It is the second award for Ikonomidis in recognition of his memorable season last year, after being named A-League Young Footballer of the Year. He scored nine A-League goals and provided five assists in 20 games for Perth Perth Glory’s Chris Ikonomidis with the Harry Kewell Medal. PHOTO: PFA.COM Glory last season, earning him a call-up to the Socceroos' 2019 Asian Cup Finals campaign in the United Arab Emirates, during which he featured in all five of the Socceroos' matches, including scoring a goal against Syria. The winger received the award ahead of a talented field of nominees, including Awer Mabil, Dylan WenzelHalls and Sapreet Singh. "To have this kind of recognition from my peers is special and for me it's the highest honour when players you play against give you that award," Ikonomidis said. Socceroos team mates ahead of Thursday evening's FIFA World Cup qualifier against Nepal in Canberra. It is the second time Ryan has received the award, having also won the title in 2015. On the night, the PFA and Jim Tombides (second from left) with the new Dylan Tombides Australian Youth Player of the Year Medal, named in honour of his late son. PHOTO: PFA.COM "It's also special winning an award with Harry Kewell's name on it. He was an idol of mine growing up and a reason I wanted to become a footballer. "This award is special because it's voted on by people who know football at the professional level and people who I have played with and against." Meanwhile Socceroos and Brighton keeper Matt Ryan was named the PFA's Men's Footballer of the Year. Awarded on Monday evening, Ryan received the medal from former Socceroo Brett Holman at a dinner with his Part 2: Preview of 15th A-League Season This week, Neos Kosmos continues its two part A-League season preview. NEWCASTLE JETS Last Season: 7th Coach: Ernie Merrick Captain: Nigel Boogaard The Jets failed to fire last season after the promise of having made the grand final in 2017/18. Roy O’Donovan’s lengthy suspension robbed the Jets of firepower in the first half of the season. The team has lost O’Donovan to the Roar this season, and has also lost exciting striker Joel Champness to a music career. Playmaker Ronald Vargas has also departed whilst they’ve suffered pre-season injury blows to key offensive players Wes Hoolahan and Kaine Sherpherd. Notable additions to this year’s squad are Panamanian international forward Abdiel Arroyo, who Jets fans hope can form a fruitful partnership with the likes of Dimi Petratos, one of three Petratos clan members in the squad. Goalkeepers: Keegan Hughes, Lewis Italiano, Noah James, Glen Moss Defenders: Nigel Boogaard, Jason Hoffman, Lachlan Jackson, Johnny Koutroumbis, Patrick Langlois, Nikolai TorporStanley Midfielders: Ryan Goodhew, Wes Hoolahan, Benjamin Kantarovski, Matthew Millar, Kosta Petratos, Matthew Ridenton, Jack Simmons, Angus Thurgate, Steven Ugarkovic Forwards: Abdiel Arroyo, Nick Fitzgerald, Dimitri Petratos, Yerasimakis Petratos, Kaine Sheppard Prediction: 8th PERTH GLORY Last Season: 1st - beaten Grand Finalist Coach: Tony Popovic Captain: Diego Castro Following a wonderful season last season, in which they were the benchmark team, the expectations on coach Popovic’s Glory will be justifiably high. They’ve picked up a potential star forward Bruno Fornaroli after the departure of Andy Keogh, and how Fornaroli fits in and combines with Chris Ikonomidis and Diego Castro up front, could determine how the Glory fare this season. It will be interesting to see how Fornaroli adapts to the coach Popovic’s preferred system and whether the coach changes the formation from last year’s three central defenders and attacking wingbacks. One of those wingbacks Jason Davidson has departed along with another key defender Shane Lowry. Goalkeepers: Liam Reddy, Tando Velaphi Defenders: Gregory Wuthrich, Matthew Spiranovic, Alex Grant, Tomislav Mrcela, Dino Djulbic, James Meredith, Ivan Franjic, Dane Ingham, Jacob Tratt, SooBeom Kim Midfielders: Osama Malik, Neil Kilkenny, Juande, Bran- don Wilson, Jake Brimmer. Forwards: Gabriel Popovic, Chris Ikonomidis, Diego Castro, Joel Chianese, Chris Harold, Bruno Fornaroli, Nicholas D’Agostino. Prediction: Top two finish SYDNEY FC Last season: 2nd (Grand Final Winners) Coach: Steve Corica Captain: Alex Wilkinson If anything, the champions look to have strengthened their squad with the additions of proven A-League performers, forward Kostas Barbarouses (Victory), and midfielders Alex Baumjohan (WSW) and Luke Brattan (Melbourne City) making up for the loss of retired skipper Alex Brosque and Siem de Jong. The prospect of twin playmakers Baumjohan and Milos Ninkovic playing in tandem is an exciting one for Sky Blues fans. Winning back to back A-League Championship may be a tall order for the Sky Blues particularly in a season in which they’ll be competing in the Asian Champions league. But then again, that didn’t stop their championship push last season. Goalkeepers: Thomas Heward-Belle, Andrew Redmayne Defenders: Patrick Flottman, Rhyan Grant, Joel King, Ryan McGowan, Harry Van der Saag, Ben Warland, Alex Wilkinson, Michael Zullo Midfielders: Alexander Baumjohann, Luke Brattan, Anthony Caceres, Milos Ninkovic, Brandon O’Neill, Paulo Retre, Ryan Teague, Chris Zuvela Forwards: Kosta Barbarouses, Trent Buhagiar, Luke Ivanovic, Adam Le Fondre, Marco Tilio Prediction: Top four finish WELLINGTON PHOENIX Last Season: 6th Coach: Ufuk Talay Captain: Steve Taylor Phoenix defied the pundits’ predictions last season under newly appointed coach Mark Rudan to reach the finals. Can it repeat that feat with another new coach and former team mate of Rudan, the first timer Ufuk Talay? Talay, who has coached Australian youth teams and cites Ange Postecoglou as a mentor, has focused on young talent in rebuilding his squad which has 14 new players and an average age of just 23.6 years, one of the youngest in the competition. Phoenix will be without the firepower of Roy Krishna, David Williams and Sarpreet Singh and will also miss experienced defender Andrew Durante, and keeper Filip Kurto. Wingback Liberato Cacace, Mexican playmaker Ulises Davila and Matti Stienmann could be the players to make an impact this season. Goalkeepers: Stefan Marinovic, Oliver Sail Defenders: Luke DeVere, Louis Fenton, Te Atawhai HudsonWihongi, Liam McGing, Walter Scott, Steven Taylor, Lib- erato Cacace Midfielders: Cameron Devlin, Ulises Dávila, Callan Elliot, Tim Payne, Alex Rufer, Matti Stienmann Attackers: David Ball, Callum McCowatt, Jausha Sotiro, Ben Waine Prediction: Bottom two WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS Last Season: 8th Coach: Markus Babbel Captain: Mitchell Duke The big question for the Wanderers this season is can they return from the barren wilderness of recent seasons, in their first season at their new state of the art, purpose built Bankwest Arena in their western suburbs heartland? Coach Babbel has tried to address the defensive problems of last season with his recruitment of keeper Daniel Lopar, full back Daniel Georgievski and Socceroo defenders Matt Jurman and Dylan McGowan. Fans will be eager to see if new signing, former Bundesliga Golden Boot winner Alexander Meier can fire the team with his goals. Goalkeepers: Vedran Janjetovic, Daniel Lopar, Nicholas Suman, Danijel Nizic Defenders: Mathieu Cordier, Tarek Elrich, Daniel Georgievski, Matthew Jurman, Dylan McGowan (VC), Tass Mourdoukoutas, Tate Russell, Daniel Wilmering, Patrick Ziegler Midfielders: Keanu Baccus, Kosta Grozos, Radoslaw Majewski, Fabian Monge, Jordan O’Doherty, Pirmin Schwegler, Nick Sullivan Forwards: Mohamed Adam, Mitchell Duke (C), Bruce Kamau, Alexander Meier, Kwame Yeboah Prediction: 6th WESTERN UNITED Last Season: N/A Coach: Mark Rudan Captain: Alessandro Diamanti For the A-League’s freshly minted club, coach Mark Rudan heads a squad comprising a mix of home grown young talent together with experienced European veterans including striker Scott McDonald. He’ll be joined in attack by proven A-League goal scorer Besart Berisha and exciting young talents Connor Pain, Apostolos Stamatelopoulous and Valentino Yuel. Goalkeepers: James Delianov, Filip Kurto Defenders: Johathan Aspropotamitis, Aaron Calver, Andrew Durante, Ersan Gülüm, Brendan Hamill, Dylan Pierias, Josh Risdon, Ivan Vujica Midfielders: Max Burgess, Joshua Cavallo, Connor Chapman, Alessandro Diamanti, Thiel Iradukunda, Dario Jertec, Panagiotis Kone, Sebastian Pasquali Forwards: Besart Berisha, Scott McDonald, Connor Pain, Apostolos Stamatelopoulous, Valentino Yuel Prediction: Lower half of Table FFA announced a new award initiative that will be known as the Dylan Tombides Australian Youth Player of the Year Medal, to honour the memory of the Australian Youth International who tragically passed away from cancer in 2014. The medal will be awarded to the best player from the Joeys (U17s), Young Socceroos (U20s) and Olyroos (U23s). The late player's father, Jim Tombides was presented with the new medal on Monday evening. The winner of the new award will be announced later this year.
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