The A-League's key men

by Ben Somerford on Oct 04, 2012

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With the new A-League upon us, GGArmy has decided to do away with the old generic preview style, instead analysing the key man from each club.

It's worth noting our “key men” may not necessarily be their side's best player, but they hold the key to their success for a variety of reasons.

Dario Vidosic (Adelaide United)
The Reds' difficult 2011-12 campaign (where they scored the fewest goals in the competition) came on the back of an off-season where they lost a string of key midfielders, including Marcos Flores. Rini Coolen never replaced those men and ultimately it led to his axing. However, a fit and healthy Vidosic could be their man, given his creativity and ability on the ball, he needs to provide the service for the side's decent forward options in Bruce Djite, Sergio van Dijk and newcomer Marcelo Carrusca.

Matthew Jurman (Brisbane Roar)
While a big name like Thomas Broich and Besart Berisha would have been an obvious choice, you know what you'll get from those players. One obvious problem area for the Roar is in the centre of defence alongside Matt Smith (they have never adequately replaced Luke DeVere), particularly given Mohamed Sayed Adnan's exit in the off-season. Admittedly the Bahraini never totally convinced but it's one part of the side which Roar can improve on and 22-year-old Jurman is the obvious replacement.

Tom Rogic (Central Coast Mariners)
Remaining on the topic of never really replacing star players, the Mariners continue to search for a solution to life post-Matt Simon. Following his January exit they snuck over the line for the Premier's Plate before being bundled out of the finals, unable to take their chances in the preliminary final against Perth Glory. Youngster Rogic is an obvious talent who plays the game vastly differently to Simon, but offers that attacking threat this side needs. They conceded only 24 goals last term, the fewest in the league, but down the other end is their issue.

Simon Colosimo (Melbourne Heart)
It has been a close season of change at Heart HQ with John van 't Schip moving on along with some talented youngsters and underwhelming imports such as Rutger Worm and Maicon. However, arguably the side's biggest loss was the departures of back pairing Curtis Good and Brendan Hamill. Given all the change, Heart needs a strong leader to take command of a reinvented backline and former A-League winner Colosimo is the man. He's likely to be partnered by Patrick Gerhardt in the centre of defence.

Adrian Leijer (Melbourne Victory)
Victory's two main problems last campaign were red cards and goals against. Resolving those issues requires a leader and Leijer is the man. And it's worth remembering 12 months ago people said Victory were top heavy, lacking defensively and now they've lost Rody Vargas, Matthew Kemp, Fabio and Ubay Luzardo. With Adama Traore and Mark Milligan to help Leijer this term, there's reason for optimism, particularly under Ange Postecoglou who could get the best out of the 2006-07 A-League Young Player of the Year who does seem to have lost his way in recent times.

James Brown (Newcastle Jets)
The Hunter club missed the top six last term and will need goals to remedy that situation. The bad news is 2011-12 topscorer Jeremy Brockie (nine goals) has left. The good news is former England striker Emile Heskey has arrived, although he's known more for his hold-up play rather than his goalscoring prowess. Attacking midfielder James Brown, who was excellent early last term for Gold Coast, is a player who could benefit greatly playing alongside big Emile.

Michael Thwaite (Perth Glory)
Steve Pantelidis and Bas van den Brink's solid central defensive partnership was one of the strengths behind Glory's storming run to the grand final last term. However, Thwaite's arrival is likely to force that duo apart, with Ian Ferguson wanting to play out from the back. The Socceroo is a player who offers that ability with his composure on the ball and willingness to run. This kind of variation is what Glory could need to compliment midfield pair Jacob Burns and Liam Miller's differing styles.

Alessandro Del Piero (Sydney FC)
It should come as no surprise that the Juve legend is the Sky Blues' key man given his pedigree. However, this isn't a typical Sydney FC side, with few experienced star names nowadays on the roster, meaning ADP takes on even more responsibility. Make no bones about it, 37-year-old Del Piero will make or break Sydney's season, on and off the field. Former A-League marquees Dwight Yorke and Robbie Fowler were recruited as strikers, but ended up playing in a midfield role and you wonder if the same will happen for Ale?

Jeremy Brockie (Wellington Phoenix)
The Nix just keep on keeping on, having gone under the radar to finish fourth last campaign. Ricki Herbert's side may have been able to challenge the top two had they managed to net more than 34 goals in 27 matches. Question marks linger on star striker Paul Ifill's fitness, meaning new signing Brockie is their key. After nine goals with the Jets last term, Brockie has returned to familiar surrounds in his homeland, which hopefully will bring the best out of him.

Dino Kresinger (Western Sydney Wanderers)
It's hard to know what to expect from Tony Popovic's side this term, given how hastily they've been assembled and how thin they appear depth-wise. There is some quality in midfield, with Shinji Ono and Aaron Mooy, however up front they do look short on the kinds of players needed to score regular goals at this level. Kresinger, though, is an unknown quantity, but also a player who has provided some glimpses of his quality in pre-season with a few goals. The 30-year-old Croatian striker could be the man to provide the goals for the red-and-blacks.