The 2014/2015 A-League season has finished, and with it the curtains close on another Fantasy A-League campaign. Congratulations to winning Fantasy manager Stephen Tsimos, whose ironically named “No Hope XI” were far too good for the rest of the pack.
In this review, some of our resident Fantasy experts, Justin, Jacob and Josh, look back on the Fantasy season that was and hand out a catalogue of awards.
Most valuable goalkeeper
Justin: Maybe a strange one here, but I’ll have to go with Jamie Young. Goalkeepers didn’t really provide a lot of value this season but Young allowed coaches to either save money by playing him on the field – where he played all but 4 games and scored only 32 less than the number 1 goalkeeper Janjetovic – or have him handy as back-up.
Jacob: Although I regret not owning Jamie Young for the majority of the season, Tando Velaphi was a great alternative and had a good season overall, despite missing a significant chunk of it. He’s made the first choice keeping position at City very much his own and finished equal first in points per game for goalkeepers, with 4.3.
Josh: To be able to get a cheap keeper who would play regularly, including in double game-weeks, Jamie Young was worth every penny. His keeping improved as the season went on, and he got to play finals.
Most valuable defender
Justin: Like goalkeepers, defenders weren’t really much value this season – especially with no decent OOP option. Patrick Kisnorbo was the only defender to crack the top 20 scorers and he did so while playing in a mediocre City side, so I’d have to say him.
Jacob: It’s too hard to look past Tarek Elrich. He was in career-best form this season and he’s developed into one of the league’s golden boys. So much so I remember he was proving popular as a captaincy pick at a couple of points this season – seldomly seen for a defender.
Josh: We look for attacking options in defence, and despite his premium price, Tarek Elrich was a no brainer. Just don’t remind me of that goal against City…
Most valuable midfielder
Justin: It has to be Aaron Mooy. Sure, Nathan Burns had a cracking season too but Mooy still outscored him by 27 points. Mooy hit double figures in 11 games this season, with 7 goals, 8 assists and 34 Tobin Medal bonus points. And he could potentially get better next season.
Jacob: Aaron Mooy without a shadow of a doubt. We wondered whether alterations in the pointscoring structure of the game would reward box-to-box midfielders but no one could ever have predicted this.
Josh: Like the rest of the boys, it’s Aaron Mooy for me. To be able to pick him up at the start for $225k and see him finish up the top of the midfield tree is what fantasy coaches dream of.
Most valuable forward
Justin: I’m guessing many here would think Marc Janko, but for me it’s Besart Berisha. While at times he struggled to be as explosive as he was at the Roar, Berisha was a key part of Victory’s double winning season and was more consistent than Janko (1 goal in his first 6 games, none in his last 7) across the campaign.
Jacob: Besart Berisha copped a lot of unfair criticism this season, and he replied in the only way he knows how – by winning his third A-League grand final, with vital Fantasy contributions along the way. He simply never lets Fantasy managers down.
Josh: Besart Berisha was fantastic and set the tone for a successful Victory side. Janko was good in the back half, but Berisha was my forward MVP.
Justin: So many candidates here! Plenty of dud signings this season, but I think a really massive disappointment was Fabio Ferreira. After setting the fantasy world alight last season he crashed, falling out of favour at Adelaide then struggling at the Mariners after a promising start.
Jacob: Thomas Broich deserves an honorable mention but the most disappointing Fantasy player for this season is Marcelo Carrusca. Yes, he was hindered by a few niggling injuries and he still finished in the top 10 highest scoring midfielders for the season. But Carrusca, in a similar fashion to his team, promised so much more.
Josh: The Slovenian international Robbie Koren promised a lot, but unfortunately injuries early preventing him from delivering. Why oh why did I start with him?
Fantasy moment of the season
Justin: Nathan Burns’ demolition of Melbourne City in Round 8. After a couple of quiet rounds where it looked like he might have run out of steam, he comes out and scores 3 goals and racks up 24 points. He had 13 the following round against the Jets and then 2 rounds later he hit Sydney FC for 18.
Jacob: Sydney beating Perth away in round 16. The beginning of Perth’s slide, when previously Fantasy managers stocked up on the likes Keogh, Marinkovic and Djulbic. And whilst Sydney had previously struggled to find cohesion in front of goal, this game was the start of Marc Janko’s crazy run, which was then replicated by Bernie Ibini and Alex Brosque.
Josh: Despite his disappointment, Robbie Koren hammered the Jets in Round 13 with a hat-trick and 23 points. Unfortunately it wasn’t a sign of things to come.
Justin: Nathan Burns is a contender for this award too given how poor he was at the Jets, but I might give it to his teammate Roy Krishna. Krishna finally added some end product to his play and became a fantasy steal for a time. Lee Ki-je is a decent shout here too after performing well in an insipid Jets team.
Jacob: I think I have to agree with Justin on this one. For a while Krishna was amongst the top scorers in the game and was available for a dirt cheap price. It’s a shame how his season petered out in the end.
Josh: I was impressed by the fantasy output of Milos Dimitrijevic. While maintaining a largely defensive role, which Justin will tell you is no good, his scores were consistently high.
One to watch next season
Justin: If Awer Mabil stays, stays fit, and starts finishing off more chances he could be a very important player for both Adelaide and fantasy coaches. A lot depends on whether Adelaide goes for another right winger though.
Jacob: If you’ve read my weekly reviews you’ll know I like Harry Novillo. It’s exciting to see that Melbourne City have managed to tie down a talented young player who, if he sticks around long enough, has the potential to develop into a top, top forward. Fantasy managers should benefit from Novillo’s continued development next season. If I had to pick my team for next season now, he’d be first pick.
Josh: Very hard to go past Chris Naumoff from Sydney on the back of his excellent finals performance. He’s still contracted for next season, so let’s hope he’s still at a great price.
Who would you have picked? Let us know in the comment section below.