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A-League: Season review after Mariners triumph

Central Coast Mariners pulled off a stunning 6-1 victory over Melbourne City to win the A-League grand final on Saturday night.

And so the 2022/23 A-League campaign is done and dusted and nobody would have predicted it ending in such a dramatic fashion.

City had had an outstanding season up until that point and although a Mariners win could not be ruled out, the manner of the victory came as a huge shock.

It has been another exciting season in the A-League and now it is all over it is time to take a look at the teams and players who have stood out.

Central Coast Mariners

We have to start with the newly crowned grand final winners the Central Coast Mariners following their emphatic win over Melbourne City.

Nick Montgomery’s side have been pretty consistent throughout the whole A-League season, but they moved up to another level in the back end of the campaign with finals approaching.

They were undefeated in the last five games of the season to finish second on the ladder and beat Adelaide United in the semi-finals before beating City in the big dance.

The Mariners success is even more remarkable considering they operate on a tight budget, compared to mega-rich City.

Cummings shines for Mariners

The Mariners have a squad packed with quality, but it is the way they play together as a team that really makes them stand out.

However, without the goals of star striker Jason Cummings they would not have made the grand final and won it.

The Scotland-born Socceroos international scored a hat-trick in the grand final to take his tally for the season to 20 goals in 28 matches.

Melbourne City

City may be in shock after losing the grand final in such a manner, but they have had another great season in dominating the A-League regular programme.

They had the minor premiership wrapped up with weeks to spare, losing just three games all season and winning 17 of the 26 they played.

City eased their way past Sydney FC in the semi-finals and although they were stunned by the Mariners in the big one, they have still caught the eye and excited the fans in 2022/23.

Maclaren very much the man

He may not have turned up in the grand final, just like the rest of his team-mates, but Jamie Maclaren has had another big season for Melbourne City.

The Socceroos ace had a dip in form during the 2021/22 A-League season, but was back to his best in this campaign.

The 29-year-old scored 24 goals in 29 matches to make him the leading goalscorer for the season, four ahead of Cummings. He also chipped in with three assists.

Adelaide United

Up until the final few weeks of the A-League season Adelaide United had been one of the standout performers.

At one point they were the hottest side in the league and looked to be the team to beat, however it would appear that Carl Veart’s men peaked too soon.

They won just one game out of the last five in the regular season and saw their season come to an end with defeat against the Mariners in the semi-finals.

However, they will be remembered for a stunning unbeaten run that stretched 12 games and saw them scoring goals for fun.

Goodwin continues to shine

Socceroos forward Craig Goodwin shows no signs of slowing down after he had his most productive A-League season in years.

The 31-year-old scored an impressive 15 goals and not only that, he chipped in with 10 assists as the Reds ripped many teams apart.

Irankunda set for big things

Reds youngster Nestory Irankunda also deserves special mention after lighting up the A-League this season.

So much so that European heavyweights Bayern Munich are known to be among a host of clubs tracking the talented 17-year-old.

The good news for Adelaide and the A-League is the fact that Irankunda will be spending at least one more season with the Reds before heading overseas.

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