As another season comes to a close, the Hyundai A-League has been left all the better by the young players who have broken through to leave their mark on the competition.
By placing their faith in the exuberant players of tomorrow all 11 clubs have helped the genuine talent of their young stars shine, enriching the quality of play league-wide.
But of all the starlets plying their trade in the Hyundai A-League, seven have been recognised with nominations for the 2019/20 Young Player of the Year award.
Two Welington Phoenix midfielders join attacking weapons from Adelaide United, Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory, with a flying Jets full-back and Melbourne City’s consistent custodian rounding out the nominees for the award.
Read on for the full list of nominees for the 2019/20 Hyundai A-League Young Footballer of the Year.
October – Riley McGree (Adelaide United)
At 21 years of age, Riley McGree continued to show why he’s one of the nation’s brightest young talents with a string of standout performances to begin the 2019/20 Hyundai A-League campaign.
McGree returned to his hometown club Adelaide United ahead of the new season and hit the ground running, scoring three goals throughout three games in October to sit equal top in the Golden Boot race.
His brace against Newcastle in Round 3 helped the Reds end a two-game losing streak to start the campaign in which McGree netted in his side’s Round 2 loss to Melbourne City.
The Young Footballer of the Year nomination capped off a memorable month for McGree in which he scored the fourth goal in Adelaide’s 4-0 FFA Cup Final triumph over Melbourne City.
November – Angus Thurgate (Newcastle Jets)
Newcastle Jets attacker Angus Thurgate proved his game-changing prowess through some decisive performances in November to earn his nomination for Young Footballer of the Year.
Thurgate, who turned 20 in February, made four appearances for the Jets through November as they recorded one loss, one draw and two wins to round out the month.
Thurgate scored the decisive goal in a 1-0 win over Western United in Round 6 – Newcastle’s first win of the campaign – and backed up his match-winning performance with a similarly effective display coming off the bench in their next clash with Western Sydney Wanderers.
Thurgate entered the contest with 28 minutes to play with the scores locked at 0-0; he scored the opening goal of the game and assisted Dimitri Petratos’ sealer to hand the Jets a second win in as many games and earn the November nomination for Young Player of the Year.
December – Reno Piscopo (Wellington Phoenix)
Ufuk Talay’s Wellington Phoenix shook off a sluggish start to the 2019/20 campaign to go unbeaten in five games through December and as the ‘Nix began to grow in stature, so did creative midfielder Reno Piscopo.
In his first season in Wellington the 22-year-old clicked into gear over the Christmas period, creating nine scoring chances across four games: a draw with Melbourne City and wins over Adelaide, Western United and Western Sydney Wanderers.
But Piscopo’s standout game of the month came in a 2-2 draw against Sydney FC, where his goal and assist helped Wellington continue their undefeated run and put an end to the Sky Blues’ six-game winning streak.
January – Cameron Devlin (Wellington Phoenix)
22-year-old Cameron Devlin became the second Phoenix player nominated for Young Footballer of the Year in as many months with a January nomination for the award.
Devlin starred all season long in a Phoenix outfit which took the league by surprise and stormed into the Final Series after a commanding run of form in mid-season.
Devlin played every minute of three wins over Central Coast Mariners, Western Sydney and Newcastle and a slender defeat to Brisbane Roar throughout January.
The tireless worker routinely found his way into the Hyundai A-League Team of the Week as he excelled in Talay’s midfield unit, catching the eye with determination to win the ball and keep his side on top of every contest as one commanding shift bled into another.
February – Nicholas D’Agostino (Perth Glory)
Nicholas D’Agostino became a hero in Australia’s AFC U-23 Championship campaign in January, and returned to Perth intent on carrying that form into February and beyond.
D’Agostino hit the ground running in the second month of 2020, earning his first Glory start on February 1 and scoring an equaliser at the death against Melbourne Victory.
The Glory starlet turned 22 on February 25 not long after his best performance of the season, when he scored a magnificent brace as Perth beat Finals Series contenders Wellington 4-2 at HBF Park.
March – Matthew Millar (Newcastle Jets)
Newcastle’s form began to turn through February and March after the appointment of Carl Robinson as Head Coach, and with the uplift in results came some standout performances from marauding full-back Matthew Millar.
Millar played in two wins and one loss for the Jets in March, scoring and starring in a 3-0 win over Adelaide in Round 23 before creating three chances and laying four crosses in a typically attacking display in a 2-1 win over Melbourne City.
July/August – Tom Glover (Melbourne City)
Melbourne City goalkeeper Tom Glover earned the final nomination for the 2019/20 Young Player of the Year for his superb form in between the sticks after the Hyundai A-League restart.
Glover’s five appearances in that time garnered two clean sheets, three wins, one draw and just one loss – a 1-0 Hyundai A-League Grand Final defeat to Sydney FC.
Glover kept his sheet clean over 90 minutes of that contest but conceded the all-important winner to Rhyan Grant thanks to a pinpoint pass from Luke Brattan which penetrated City’s defence.
Despite falling to Sydney on the big stage, Glover put on a performance to remember to go with a match-defining display in City’s 2-0 Semi-Final win over Western United which went a long way toward enhancing Glover’s reputation as one of the finest shot-stoppers in the league.