Wellington Phoenix’s goalkeeper Alex Paulsen and Melbourne City FC’s forward Holly McNamara have been voted by their peers across the A-Leagues as the Austraffic PFA Players of the Month for November.

The award is the third major accolade Paulsen has received for his form in November, with the 21-year-old winning the Isuzu UTE A-League October/November Player of the Month award and a nomination for the Isuzu UTE A-League Young Footballer of the Year.

While the A-Leagues awards are voted by panellists, the Austraffic PFA Player of the Month award involves a monthly vote by PFA Members, with Paulsen receiving the highest number of player votes, ahead of November nominees Marcelo (Western Sydney Wanderers), Jay O’Shea (Brisbane Roar), Apostolos Stamatelopoulos (Newcastle Jets) and Paulsen’s team-mate Finn Surman. 

Having emerged from Wellington Phoenix’s reserves team, Paulsen has grabbed the opportunity as first-choice ‘keeper following the departure of Oli Sail to Perth Glory. In November, Paulsen made 14 saves – including a match-winning penalty stop against Melbourne City – and secured one clean sheet in a month where the Phoenix secured two wins and a draw.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be playing for the Wellington Phoenix and to get an award for doing something I love is humbling.  

“A huge amount of credit should go to my fellow ‘Nix goalkeepers, coaches and team mates. As for the rest of the season, it’s my priority to turn up to every training session and game at 100 per cent.”

McNamara has now won back-to-back Austraffic Player of the Month awards, having secured the player vote in October for her dazzling early season form.

The Matildas forward scored six goals in just three matches in November, including a hat-trick in a thrilling 4-3 win over Western Sydney Wanderers and a brace in a 3-2 win against Newcastle Jets. Unfortunately after scoring her second goal and the eventual winner over the Jets, McNamara sustained a knee injury. A post-match scan confirmed a rupture of the anterior crucial ligament (ACL) in her right knee, ruling her out for the remainder of the 2023-24 Liberty A-League Women Season.

Commenting on winning back-to-back awards, McNamara said:

“Thank you to everyone who has voted for me for the Austraffic PFA Player of the Month. It’s a really big honour for me to be voted by my fellow players twice in a row and I’m very grateful. 

“Thank you to everyone at Melbourne City, my teammates and the staff, for helping me play with freedom and thank you to everyone for the support and kind messages after my injury. My rehab is going well and getting better each day.”

Through the PFA’s partnership with Park SCC, Paulsen and McNamara will receive a specially designed ball (pictured above), which aims to illustrate the different journeys a player takes both in life and on the pitch, and how the values of the PFA (Courage, Intelligence, Respect, Trust and World Class) guide them through those journeys. Both players will nominate a grassroots club or school who will be recipients of Park SCC footballs.

Austraffic PFA Player of the Month 2023-24

October: Holly McNamara, Bruno Fornaroli

November: Holly McNamara, Alex Paulsen