JUST CHAMPIOn! AUSSIES CELEBraTE SUCCESS AT HOME AnD ABROAD
O O Y’ S PROMOTION &$$$ SIGNING
M“Usually when he plays well, the team plays well – Aaron is the heart of our team,” Huddersfield boss David Wagner said in May ahead of the 2016-17 Championship playoffs. Mooy proceeded to perform brilliantly, converting penalties in both play-offs, helping his side to an unlikely promotion, winning the club’s Player of the Year and putting pen to paper on a permanent deal for a record fee for an Australian reportedly worth $16.7million from parent club Manchester City. Upon inking the permanent deal, Mooy said: “Now we’re in the Premier League, not only do I get to play at the highest level of football, but I continue to be part of a team that achieved something special and we will continue on that journey together to try and achieve much more.” It was a remarkable period for Mooy, who hasn’t stopped since arriving in the top flight, memorably scoring in an historic 2-1 triumph over Manchester United. He also scored a classy winner in a 1-0 victory over Newcastle as the newly promoted Terriers went on a dream run to start the campaign.
BRAD JONES WINS DUTCH E RED IV I SI E
Perennial back-up goalkeeper Brad Jones claimed the highest European team honour of any of our Aussies abroad in 2016-17 when he won the Dutch league title with Eredivisie perennial under-achievers Feyenoord. The unlikely Jones, who had only joined Feyenoord to be Netherlands international Kenneth Vermeer’s deputy in the offseason, became the first Australian to win the Eredivisie in eight years, following Brett Holman’s triumph with AZ in 2009 and Jason Culina at PSV in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Jones played 32 games in the 34-round Eredivisie campaign, following a serious injury to Vermeer, as the Rotterdam outfit made history with their first league title in 18 years. The 35-year-old had been integral in the club’s success, having previously been largely a deputy at Liverpool and Middlesbrough throughout his career. It marked a remarkable turnaround for the discarded four-time fringe Socceroo whose club career appeared over after being cut loose by English third tier club Bradford City in 2015. “To those who have doubted me over the years, to those who have knocked me... Thank you! You made this so much more special,” Jones tweeted.
SYDNEY DO THE DOUBLE
It would almost have been an injustice if the Sky Blues had not won the double this year after being on top of the table for the whole season and snaring the Premiers Plate 17 points clear of second at the end of the regular season.
But Sydney ended up winning the Grand Final the hard way against Melbourne Victory, with a gripping two hours of football ultimately settled in a penalty shootout.
Johnny Warren medallist Milos Ninkovic struck home the final spot kick to claim the treasured double for his side, sparking jubilant celebrations with fans in The Cove.
Graham Arnold had told his team at half-time that he’d rather lose the Grand Final than change the style of play that saw the side go on a record-breaking run, smashing a cluster of records and setting a new benchmark for the competition.
Sydney had the most clean sheets in a season and conceded just 13 goals as part of a 19 game undefeated streak.
The stats helped earn keeper Danny Vukovic a move overseas to Belgian side KRC Genk, but Sydney managed to keep hold of key imports Ninkovic, Bobo and Jordy Bujis.
Now this year, the aim is the treble – and the Sky Blues staked their claim to the first part of that with the 2017 FFA Cup Final win over Adelaide United in November.
Can they repeat the Championship and Premiership double though? And will they hold onto Arnie in the wake of Ange Postecoglou’s exit from the Socceroos?
TO MR OGIC’ S SCOTTISH CUP FINAL WINNER
It’s 1-1 in the 92nd minute of the Scottish Cup Final, with barely 90 seconds to play. The ball falls to Tom Rogic on the side of midfield. He advances beats two defenders, gets inside the box, finds a bit of space and hits a sweet shot on his non-preferred right foot to clinch the Scottish treble for Celtic, the club’s fourth in their long and illustrious history. It couldn’t have been a better finish for Rogic who missed almost four months of the 2016-17 season due to injury, with the cup final his 10th game back. Rogic said: “I picked up the ball and just tried to be positive and space just opened up for me. It was a pretty special moment.” The Australian, who had actually started the game on the bench, added: “It’s been a long season and to do what we have done as a collective group, go unbeaten and then to seal it like that, to get the treble in the last minute of the last game of the season is something we will look back on forever.”
“TO THOSE WHO HAVE DOUBTED ME OVER THE YEARS, TO THOSE WHO HAVE KNOCKED ME... THANK YOU! YOU MADE THIS SO MUCH MORE SPECIAL...” HE TWEETED