The Western Sydney Wanderers stellar debut campaign has been honoured with four of their Premiership winning players selected in the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) 2012/2013 A-League Team of the Season and Tony Popovic being named as its Coach.
Captained by Melbourne Victory’s Mark Milligan, who takes the armband from last season’s winner Fred, the 16 man squad reflects the competitive balance of the competition with seven A-League clubs represented.

The number of Wanderers players was matched by the Victory who also provided four players with Grand Final winners Central Coast Mariners also featuring prominently with three.

Having overseen a Premiership win and Grand Final appearance Popovic is the fifth recipient of the Coach of Year award and follows in the footsteps of his former Socceroos teammate Graham Arnold who won the award last season.

The PFA A-League Team of the Season (4-3-3):

Goalkeeper: Ante Covic (Western Sydney Wanderers)

Defenders: Jerome Polenz (Western Sydney Wanderers), Trent Sainsbury (Central Coast Mariners), Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Western Sydney Wanderers), Adama Traore (Melbourne Victory)

Midfielders: Shiji Ono (Western Sydney Wanderers), Mark Milligan (c) (Melbourne Victory), Michael McGlinchey (Central Coast Mariners)

Forwards: Jeremy Brockie (Wellington Phoenix), Alessandro Del Piero (Sydney FC), Marco Rojas (Melbourne Victory)

Substitutes: Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United), Michael Thwaite (Perth Glory), Marcelo Carrusca (Adelaide United), Archie Thompson (Melbourne Victory), Daniel McBreen (Central Coast Mariners)

Coach: Tony Popovic (Western Sydney Wanderers)

Referee: Strebre Delovski

PFA President Simon Colosimo said the quality of the PFA Team of the Season was a reflection of the ever improving standard of the A-League.

“Being selected into the PFA Team of the Season by your peers is one of the top accolades you can have as a player.  The players can be proud of such an acknowledgment, particularly in a season where players have continued to play a massive part in raising the standard and interest levels in the A-League”.

On being named as Captain Mark Milligan said: “I am humbled even to be considered for the PFA Team of the Season, let alone selected as captain. To be recognised by my peers is a recognition I am grateful for. It’s a great team, reflective of a great A-League season.”

For Referee of the Season Strebre Delovski it is the fourth time in five seasons he has been acknowledged by the players as the best whistle blower in the competition.

Delovski was not the only one to have their continued high performance recognised by the PFA members.

The playing surface at AAMI Park was recognised as number one in the 2012/13 PFA Pitch Rating System for the second season running, just ahead of Etihad Stadium and Parramatta Stadium respectively.

Whilst the players acknowledged the impressive playing surface at AAMI Park, the assessment of the players was that the quality of the pitches on average in the A-League fell slightly in comparison with the previous season.

The atmosphere created by the Melbourne Victory supporters group Blue and White Brigade also made it consecutive honours when they narrowly edged out the Western Sydney Wanderers Red and Black Bloc as the best in the competition. The ratings by the players showed a significant improvement in the atmosphere at A-League matches on average across the competition in comparison to last season.

Melbourne Victory Captain Adrian Leijer said the recognition for the Blue and White Brigade was a reward for the electric atmosphere they create at their home matches.

“For years our fans have been the benchmark when it comes to support in the stands across the A-League, and as players, we certainly feel that it gives us an edge over our opponents.