The A-League might have found the most realistic competitor to Sydney FC as Wellington Phoenix exposed the chinks in the Sky Blue armour, with both teams ultimately sharing the spoils in an exhilarating 2-2 draw.
The traditionally competitive Victory has floundered of late with the Swede being one of the few bright stars in their campaign so far. If anyone was going to turn the ship around for them in the Melbourne derby, it was going to be him.
He fulfilled his duty as he punched two goals past their City rivals to send the Vucks fans in a joyous mood before Christmas. It might also just lift the spirit of the club as they look to start making some headway on the ladder.
The best stat to show how much the Navy Blues rely on their captain, it’s the fact that Toivonen has now scored seven of Victory’s 11 goals this season.
With the Swede carrying such a huge load for his team, it will be worrying that he looked to be struggling with a tight muscle and also earned another yellow card, meaning he will definitely miss their next match against Newcastle Jets in the new year.
El Maestro once again weaved his magic to make Jets’ defence disappear as Glory put six past goalkeeper Glen Moss.
Castro whipped in a couple of delightful goals, the first a peach of a freekick as the wall could only stare as the ball glided over them into the nets, the second a low shot curling into the far right corner.
The Spaniard wasn’t only scoring either, he was actively involved in the build up for the rest of the goals, emphasising his importance to the team as both a creative and finishing outlet.
At 37, it certainly feels like Castro is getting better as the years roll on, and after a season where Glory won the Premiership, the captain will have the Championship in his sight this time around.
The Mariners claimed their first back to back home victories since 2015 and it was in a large part thanks to Rowles contributions on both sides of the pitch.
The 21 year old put Mariners in the lead as he found space in a crowded penalty area following a set piece to direct the ball into goal and past Paul Izzo.
The former Brisbane Roar defender then provided a crucial interception from a low cross to stop Al Hassan Toure from equalising. That interception proved to be a defining moment as Central Coast held on to their narrow lead to take the three points.
Rowles is still a young individual and his exposure to the first team as well as learning under respected coach Alen Stajcic will be the perfect development as he looks to fight his way into the Olyroos squad in Tokyo.