While pre-match talk heading into Round 17 surrounded Sydney FC’s latest signing, Iranian striker Reza Ghoochannejhad, it was 18-year-old Luke Ivanovic who stole the headlines, rewarding Head Coach Steve Corica with a first-ever A-League goal in his first ever A-League start.

Ivanovic, who signed his first professional contract with Sydney last month, had made six appearances with the Sky Blues since his debut against the Central Coast Mariners in Round 6.

But his biggest impact so far came in his first start on Sunday, where he netted the opening goal for Sydney to help Corica’s side to a 2-0 win over Melbourne City.

Reflecting on signing his professional deal in January, Ivanovic said that his ambition was to be in Sydney’s first team squad, week in, week out. 

“It’s fantastic being a part of the first team and the boys have been great to me. I didn’t think it [signing a pro contract] would happen this quickly but I’ve worked hard and I’m delighted that Steve believes in me.

“My goal is to be in the A-League squad every week but I also know I need to be patient and await my opportunity.”

While Ivanovic’s career at Sydney is just starting out, teammate Rhyan Grant was recognised for his 10 years of service with Sydney FC prior to the match against City. The Socceroo defender became Sydney’s first 10-year player in December.

Grant has been at the Sky Blues since 2008 and has played over 150 matches – a milestone he achieved on 10 November last year.

Across town, Western Sydney Wanderers’ new signing Mitchell Duke, returned to the A-League for the first time since the 2014/15 season.

A former Central Coast Mariner, Duke, 28, spent the past four seasons with J-League 1 club Shimizu S-Pulse between 2015-2018.

Duke entered Friday night’s encounter against Newcastle as a second-half substitute with the score 5-0 to the jets, so he little opportunity to impact the overall result. But the striker did his best to announce himself in impressive fashion, scoring a consolation for his new club within just 21 seconds of his introduction.

Adam Taggart will likely remember his 50th A-League goal, but will want to forget the game he scored it in. Despite reaching the milestone – and in the process creating a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 lead over Adelaide United, Taggart’s team eventually succumbed to United who fought back to secure a miraculous 4-3 win.

Dylan Wenzel-Halls found his first goal for Brisbane in the same match, although both his and Taggart’s strikes ended up proving academic.

Another Roar star, Clare Polkinghorne, recently celebrated a decade with Brisbane in a 4-1 win over Canberra United in the W-League. Polkinghorne was recognised for her contribution to the club at full time of the match at Suncorp Stadium last month.

In other action across the weekend, Tessa Tamlin netted her first goal for Newcastle Jets on her first start on the final round of the regular season, while Gunnhildur Jonsdottir (Adelaide United) and Matthew Ridenten (Jets) scored their first goals of the season for their respective teams.