Two of the A-League Men’s established strikers and a Swiss central defender have been nominated for the Austraffic PFA Player of the Month Award for November.

While only two matches were played in the A-League Men’s opening rounds last month, Wellington Phoenix’s Gary Hooper, Melbourne City’s Andrew Nabbout and Western United’s Leo Lacroix were nominated as standouts during the first two weeks of action.

The trio have been revealed by the PFA Nominations committee – a panel of former players and media figures – with the winner to be voted on by A-League Men’s players this week. The award is proudly presented by PFA partner, Austraffic.

Check out the nominees below!

Leo Lacroix, Defender, Western United

A new face in the A-League Men’s competition for the 2021/22 season, Lacroix joined Western United on a one-year deal in August, with the 29-year-old central defender signing from Swiss side FC Sion.

The imposing 197cm defender – the tallest player in the Western United squad – has wasted no time in settling into his new environment and has been an imposing presence for Western in the club’s first two rounds.

Despite losing its opener against Melbourne Victory, United bounced back to claim a 1-0 win over Perth Glory and a clean sheet in Round 2. Across both games, Lacroix marshalled the Western defence with poise and calmness.

During his career in Europe, Lacroix played in the Champions League and the Europa League, representing the Swiss outfit FC Basel, French side Saint-Etienne and German team Hamburg.

Gary Hooper, Forward, Wellington Phoenix

Hooper re-joined the Phoenix for the 2021/22 season after a year with Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League, and marked his return to the A-League Men’s with two goals in his opening two matches in November.

The 33-year-old English striker netted in Phoenix’s opening encounter – a 1-1 draw with Macarthur – driving a penalty straight down the middle after Reno Piscopo was fouled inside the box.

In his second match against Central Coast Mariners, the former Celtic, Norwich City and Sheffield Wednesday striker looked a threat early, before turning in an opportunistic close-range strike following a goal-mouth scramble.

Hooper joined Wellington in October 2019 and in his debut A-League Men’s season scored eight goals – at a rate of one goal every 138.1 minutes – to help the Phoenix to an historic third place regular season finish, before heading overseas to the Indian Premier League.

Andrew Nabbout, Forward, Melbourne City FC

In his second season with City, Nabbout produced two tidy performances in City’s opening two fixtures.

The former Melbourne Victory and Newcastle Jets forward was a constant threat – alongside his attacking teammates Matt Leckie and Jamie Maclaren – in City’s opening 2-1 win over Brisbane Roar.

However, his standout match was in Round 2 against Adelaide United where Nabbout set up City’s first for Maclaren and scored an outrageous second.

Breaking down the right flank in the first half against the Reds, Nabbout expertly squared for Maclaren to tap in his first goal of the season. In the second half, Nabbout had an early chance saved before he went one better, scoring one of the goals of the season so far; a beautiful curling strike with the outside of his right boot. 

About Austraffic

Founded in 1983 (as Australasian Traffic Surveys), Austraffic has undertaken thousands of traffic, transport and pedestrian studies in all states and territories of Australia and New Zealand. Austraffic’s systems and expertise delivers quality data that meets the customer’s needs. Their offices are located throughout Australia, and their traffic engineering and information technology specialists assist customers with the design, analysis and presentation of surveys.