Professional Footballers Australia (the PFA) has today revealed the 2023-24 A-League Men’s Team of the Season, with a total of 13 players among those still in action as the A-League Men’s Semi Finals continue this weekend.


The Team

The team comprises of a 4-3-3 formation, with seven substitutes as voted by the PFA’s A-League Men’s members at the end of the regular season. The players also voted on their Coach of the Season. Eight of the starting XI are making their first appearance in the PFA Team of the Season, while an additional three are included in the substitutes.

The Captain and Goalkeeper

After an incredible breakout season, Wellington Phoenix goalkeeper Alex Paulsen has been voted the captain of the Team of the Season, receiving the most votes from his peers.

Paulsen broke into the Wellington starting lineup this season and didn’t look back from the word go, with a string of incredible performances between the sticks to help the Phoenix secure a top two berth.

The 21-year-old kept 11 clean sheets, and registered a league-high save percentage of 80.9%. According to FotMob, he has also prevented the most goals (12.9), which is 2.3 more than second-placed Filip Kurto. Paulsen also incredibly saved three of the five penalties he faced this season.

“It’s very humbling to receive the most votes from my peers and be named the captain of the PFA Team of the Season,” Paulsen said.

“There’s obviously a lot of incredible talent within the league so this is a great honour not only for myself but for my goalkeeping union here at the Phoenix.

“I wouldn’t be in this position without the support from Jack Duncan and Ruben Parker, who’ve made me the best I can be.”

This is Paulsen’s first-ever appearance in the PFA Team of the Season.

The Defenders

The back-line is made up of entirely players from the Central Coast Mariners and Wellington Phoenix.

Mariners duo Jacob Farrell and Brian Kaltak earn their place in the side after incredible seasons at the back. Farrell continued to make strides with a number of quality showings at full-back, contributing in both defence and attack (two goals, three assists), while Kaltak marshalled things brilliantly all season in the heart of defence.

They’re joined by Phoenix’s Scott Wootton and Tim Payne, who were just as solid all season, helping Wellington to a league-best defensive record, shipping only 26 goals for the entire campaign. Payne also added three goals and four assists, showcasing his ability to have an impact in the attacking third too.

This is Kaltak’s second consecutive appearance in the Team of the Season, while it’s the first time Farrell, Wootton and Payne have received the honour.

The Midfielders

Three of the competition’s best midfielders make up this season’s engine room. Melbourne City’s Tolgay Arslan earns a place after an incredible debut season, where he scored 13 goals and tallied seven assists. Only two players contributed more goals and assists than Arslan’s combined 20 score involvements throughout a brilliant first year in Australia.

He’s joined by Wellington metronome Alex Rufer, who provided a steadying presence in the middle of the park for the Phoenix all season, along with scoring one goal and registering three assists. Central Coast’s Josh Nisbet rounds out the midfield three after yet another brilliant campaign, where he registered a league-high nine assists and was twice awarded the Austraffic PFA Player of the Month for his standout performances for Mark Jackson’s side.

This is Arslan and Rufer’s first-ever appearance in the Team of the Season, while it’s back-to-back appearances in the starting lineup for Nisbet.

The Forwards

Adam Taggart caps off a brilliant Golden Boot winning campaign by returning to the PFA Team of the Season. Taggart was the one constant for Perth Glory this season, scoring a league-high 20 goals en route to winning his second A-League Men’s Golden Boot and a return to the Socceroos squad in March.

He finished two goals clear of Melbourne Victory’s Bruno Fornaroli, who also put together a brilliant season, scoring 18 goals of his own and earning a place in the Socceroos’ Asian Cup squad.

They’re joined by Sydney FC’s Joe Lolley after a sensational campaign up-and-down the flank for the Sky Blues. The Englishman registered 11 goals to go with seven assists, throughout an impressive second season in the Harbour City.

This is Fornaroli’s third appearance in the team and Taggart’s second, but their first since the 2016-17 season and 2013-14 season respectively, while Lolley has received Team of the Season honours for the first time.

The Substitutes

Sydney FC duo Jake Girdwood-Reich and Anthony Caceres are among the players on the bench, earning their first ever appearance in the Team of the Season. They’re joined by Newcastle Jets’ Apostolos Stamatelopoulos – who scored 17 goals this season – and Melbourne Victory’s Damien Da Silva, who are also both in the squad for the first time.

Meanwhile, Western Sydney Wanderers’ Marcelo makes it back-to-back appearances in the Team of the Season after another brilliant campaign, while Central Coast Mariners goalkeeper Danny Vukovic has been voted in for his fifth appearance in the squad and Wellington’s Kosta Barbarouses is in the team for the third time following sensational respective seasons.

The Coach

Wellington Phoenix’s Giancarlo Italiano has been voted the Coach of the Season, after an excellent first campaign in the hot seat. Italiano took over from Ufuk Talay in the off-season, after serving as his assistant at the Phoenix, and made an immediate impact, taking Wellington into second place on the standings. He becomes the second Phoenix head coach to receive the honour, after his predecessor Talay, was named Coach of the Season in the 2019-20 iteration.

About the PFA Team of the Season 

The inaugural PFA A-League Team of the Season was announced in 2009 and has been revealed annually in the A-Leagues Finals Series. Based on peer recognition, selection in the PFA Team of the Season remains one of the highest accolades a professional footballer can receive in Australia.  
At the end of each season, PFA members from the A-Leagues are asked to vote on their best XI. The composition of the team is based on the number of votes tallied for each player in each position, with the substitutes bench comprising those players who finished below those in the starting XI positions. The player with the most votes is determined the Team of the Season’s captain.