I have worked on this team for two days, I even made a colour coded spreadsheet and I’m sure it’s still not perfect and I definitely know not everyone will agree with it, but *drum roll* here it is;
Leigh Broxham Trent Sainsbury Alex Wilkinson Josh Risdon
Diego Castro Isaias Sanchez Aaron Mooy
Milos Ninkovic Thomas Broich
Bench: Maty Ryan, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Kosta Barbarouses, Rhyan Grant
Coach: Ange Postecoglou
So why these men? For me it was about what they have contributed to the A-league and their longevity, whilst there are some bigger names and perhaps some more impactful players that contributed for a season or two I just couldn’t justify it in my head somehow.
Let’s start with the man in charge of this team of the decade, Ange Postecoglou associated with Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory. He won the Premiership and the Championship with Brisbane in the 2010-11 season. During this season they only lost one game, and won 36 games in a row! He was the Socceroos coach from 2013-2017 and is currently with Yokohama F. Marinos where only weeks ago he lead them to win the J League. Not a bad resume at all.
Eugene Galekovic goalkeeper extraordinaire was around from 2005 until the end of last season picking up many awards during this time back to back 2008-09 and 2009-10 Goalkeeper of the Year, and Adelaide player of the Season, 2013-14 All Star Selection, then again 2013-14 and 2014-15 Goalkeeper of the Year, before joining Melbourne City and being their 2018-19 player of the Season.
Eugene was captain of United from part way through the 2011-12 season when McKain retired and maintained this role until heading off to City, and also made a hand full of appearances in the Australian squad. Eugene is now back with Adelaide united as goal keeping coach, and has made a massive difference to Izzo’s distribution.
Few players are as well-known or respected within the league as Leigh Broxham, the Melbourne Victory stalwart defender having amassed over 300 games with the club and finally last season being rewarded with their player of the season award. He was part of the 2014-15 premiership and championship side, in what was a very testing season for him, but he came out a stronger and improved player.
Trent Sainsbury joined the Central Coast Mariners in 2010, and won player of the season 2012-13, and was an important part of the team in 2013 when CCM defeated WSW in the grand final. He represented Australia in the U17’s and continues to now represent Australia with the Socceroos. In 2013 Sainsbury headed overseas and is currently playing for ESV Eindhoven.
Alex Wilkinson signed for the Central Coast Mariners in 2005 and even though he has never won an individual award he has been around for the long haul, spending 2011-2015 overseas and returning to Melbourne City in 2016, before settling at Sydney later in 2016, where he is now captain. Wilkinson was part of a Premiership winning CCM team, not many players can say that! Wilkinson is also still an active player with the Socceroos, which fun fact in 2014 he was the first player in history to be involved with FIFA’s new goal line review system, proving he saved a goal. VAR has been all downhill from here!
Josh Risdon commenced his career with Perth Glory in 2010, and has also played for Western Sydney Wanderers, the commencement of this season saw him join the newly formed Western United. Last year he suffered a groin injury during the Asian Cup and is now focusing on playing well at club level to perhaps work his way back into Socceroos selection.
Diego Castro is the current captain for Perth Glory, a club which he has been with since 2015 as their foreign marquee player. His first season proved to be one of his best claiming the Johnny Warren medal, he also has three Perth player of the year awards under his belt.
Isaias Sanchez as an Adelaide United fan, I couldn’t look past Isaias in the midfield. He signed with United in 2013, and collected four player of the season awards. In season 2015/16 when United won the premiership, he also took away the Joe Marston medal. If Isaias had a middle name I’m sure it would be “consistent.” In July 2019 we all shed a few tears as he left to go and play in Qatar.
Aaron Mooy born in Sydney commenced his professional career overseas, before returning and joining Western Sydney Wanderers in 2012. 2014 saw him sign with Melbourne City and win consecutive team player of the season awards before heading back overseas in June 2016. Now if you are truly a football fan, you will know just how amazingly he is doing over there
Milwall Sneaky Bitch (damn you autocorrect) for those of you that missed The Ladies League subtitles in his interview, I am of course talking about Milos Ninkovic. He steps comfortably into the midfield having played over 110 games with Sydney since 2015 including 24 goals, a Joe Marston Medal, Johnny Warren Medal and five Sky Blue trophies. The Serbian national has certainly made Australia and the A-League home becoming somewhat of a cult figure amongst The Ladies League.
Thomas Broich played with Brisbane Roar from 2010-2017, and is now retired from the game. During this career in the A-league he took home many awards 2010-11 BRI Player of the Season, 2011-12 Johnny Warren Medal, 2012-13 All Star Selection 2012-13, BRI Player of the Season, 2013-14 Johnny Warren Medal, 2013-14 Joe Marston Medal, 2013-14 All Star Selection, 2013-14 Brisbane Player of the Season
Besart Berisha came to the A-league at Brisbane Roar in 2011, before joining Melbourne Victory In 2014, he is now at Western United, and still has all the skills and bold personality. He won a Premiership with Victory in 2014/15 and as awards to his name 2011-12 Golden Boot, 2011-12 Brisbane Player of the Season, 2012-13 All Star Selection, 2013-14 All Star Selection, and 2016-17 Golden Boot.
Maty Ryan now there’s a very strong chance you will say he should be my starting goal keeper, but Galekovic just had that bit more of my heart, and more time off for injuries during his A-league career with Central Coast Mariners between 2010 and 2013, but I know he is amazing! He was part of the team to win the 2012/13 grand final over the Western Sydney Wanderers, and won several awards during his time with Central Coast.
Nikolai Topor-Stanley joined the A-league in 2006, he has since played 302 games with five stints at four different clubs. Only just last season he was player of the club at Newcastle. An award his has won on three other occasions. Some would say his biggest contribution to the game was in 2015 when he captained the Western Sydney Wanderers side to win the Asian Champions League.
Kosta Barbarouses has been around the A-league since 2007, and has been on the A-league roundabout representing five of the clubs, with some overseas stints in between. He has also represented National team of New Zealand.
Rhyan Grant because every team needs a man with a mullet!
By Michelle Reid
Featured image from Matt Johnson