For every round of A-League football in 2020/21, FTBL will be handing out awards for the brilliant, bad and bizarre moments each week.
In round two, VAR returned to centre stage, one player made a notable return to action, and the handball laws came under heavy scrutiny once again.
The Attacking Wing-Backs Award
It’s no secret that Western Sydney coach Carl Robinson loves an attacking wing-back.
When he was at Newcastle, Matthew Millar and Bobby Burns, both wing-backs, were pivotal to the team’s success towards the end of last season.
In round one the Wanderers were pegged back for much of the derby against Macarthur, so we did not get to see just how dangerous their wing-backs can be.
However, this past week, it was like watching a different team, with Thomas Aquilina and Tate Russell going all out to join each red and black attack.
Their starting positions were essentially those that an out and out winger would take up, and they showed no fear in breaking into the box when the ball was on the opposite side.
That was particularly devastating when Russell burst thumped in the Wanderers second to give them breathing space against Newcastle.
Tate Russell has been outstanding in the Wanderers’ first two games this season. Such a threat going forward. That finish was as good as it gets #NEWvWSW— Jye Campbell (@JyeCampbell) January 8, 2021
He then got on the end of Graham Dorrans' pass to set up James Troisi in the Sydney Derby.
Aquilina is just as dangerous on the left-hand side.
Daniel Georgievski could have to fight to get back into the WSW starting lineup.
The What the VAR? Award
I have arguably been VAR's number one fan in the A-League this season.
However, the decision to award a red card for Rufer in the second half of Wellington's clash with Macarthur was a real shocker.
The midfielder barely lifted his boot against opposite number Denis Genreau.
If you watch the replay, the 24-year-old has his eyes closed during the action.
Stunned by this decision. There's no movement from Alex Rufer's leg, his eyes are closed, head back on the ground. If anything, the studs up challenge from Denis Genreau needed looking at. #ALeague #MACvWEL https://t.co/FPOSJab8V8— Simon Smale (@simon_smale) January 9, 2021
Most fans wondered whether the red was for the initial challenge, or the supposed raised boot straight afterwards.
But was this decision a VAR issue, or just awful refereeing?
The technology provides a replay; it does not make the decision - it is Steven Lucas's job of interpreting the evidence given to him by VAR.
Referees boss Strebre Delovski even apologised to Wellington coach Ufuk Talay for the incident immediately afterwards.
The Award for Breaking a Scoring Drought
Congratulations to Kosta Barbarouses, who managed to break his scoring drought on Saturday.
His penalty was his first goal in 11 games.
KOSTA BARBAROUSES JUST SCORED. I REPEAT, KOSTA BARBAROUSES JUST SCORED. IS THE WORLD ENDING????— Chris* (@nbbslfc) January 16, 2021
The ex-Victory man still seems to be struggling at the moment, and barely had a sniff despite his goal.
He did keep his cool and send Daniel Margush the wrong way, but he looks like he needs the returning Bobo to come back in immediately.
The Kiwi might struggle to be a primary source of goals.
He went under the radar whilst Adam Le Fondre consistently found the net last season.
Bobo’s re-introduction might bring about a change of form, mainly because his physical presence and aerial ability can bring a different dynamic.
Sydney fans will hope that goal can kick start a run of form, or else a seat on the bench could be awaiting him.
The Perfect Return Award
This award goes to Ivan Vujica, who netted his first A-League goal on an emotional return to first-team football with Western United on Saturday.
The 23-year-old rose brilliantly from a Victor Sanchez cross to power in a header, and give Mark Rudan's side the lead against Melbourne City.
But it was the defender's celebration that caught the eye.
He made sure he went over to the coaching staff and embraced Rudan and assistant John Anastasiadis for their role in getting him back on the pitch.
He had missed almost all of the 2019/20 season with a pelvic injury.
It was a heartwarming moment and a reminder that not all players take everything for granted.
You only hope that this will be the end of the former Jet's injury woes, and he kicks on with his A-League career from here.
The Handball Laws are Ridiculous Award
This award goes to IFAB, the International Football Association Board, for their role in consistently muddling up handball laws.
Macarthur's Aleksandar Susnjar blatantly handled the ball inside the box in stoppage time against Newcastle yesterday.
However, Ben Abraham's decision was technically correct, because Susnjar played at the ball before handling it, meaning the handball was deemed irrelevant.
Therefore, the problem is with IFAB and their inability to realise this ruling's ridiculous nature.
It sets a dangerous precedent as not only is it essentially letting Susnjar get away with a mistake, but potentially allows defenders to exploit this and use it to their advantage.