Every A-League round, we hand out our FTBL awards for the brilliant, bad and bizarre moments each week. In the final round of the home and away season, one player scored a beauty to mark his retirement in style, another somehow netted two own goals, whilst a new youngster announced himself on the big stage.
The Going Out in Style Award
Last Tuesday, Mark Milligan announced his retirement from professional football at the end of the season. He'll be joining the backroom staff at Macarthur from next season.
However, the day before, the veteran still had time to pull out one more long-range belter before his retirement, with a sensational curling effort sealing the points for the Bulls against Western United.
That result secured finals football for Ante Milicic's team, with Milligan once again showcasing his excellent leadership qualities when his side needed them most.
He encapsulated that trait throughout his time with the Victory - helping the club to a championship in 2015 - and he is the only Australian alongside Tim Cahill that has been to four World Cups.
Congratulations to Mark Milligan on a great career.— scott (@SFynmore) June 4, 2021
One of our better players & was a massive part in my favourite Melbourne Victory moment with the 2015 GF 👏 #ThanksMillsey
Milicic will need his leader for next week's final against the Mariners. The midfielder himself will want to end his career on the highest of highs by guiding the Bulls to a title in their inaugural season.
Good luck and congratulations on a terrific career, Millsy; you've earned it.
The Light At The End Of The Tunnel Award
Newcastle Jets fans haven't had much to smile about this season, but the final week of the season offered a couple of highlights for them.
An F3 Derby victory, coupled with two excellent displays by a 16-year-old Archie Goodwin, should give Jets fans much more optimism for next season.
The derby win was superb, with Newcastle giving their rivals nothing in Gosford in an uncharacteristically solid defensive display.
Goodwin was not just involved in the first goal there, teeing up Roy O'Donovan's strike. On Saturday night against Perth, he could have easily had his first goals in the competition if not for Tando Velaphi's acrobatics.
16 - Archie Goodwin (16y 206d) provided an assist for @NewcastleJetsFC's first goal of #CCMvNEW, becoming the youngest player to provide an assist in an @ALeague game since Opta began collecting the data at the beginning of the 2012/13 season. School. pic.twitter.com/hWC4RMdUHh— OptaJason (@OptaJason) June 1, 2021
Despite Craig Deans deciding to step down during the week, the incoming manager will have not just Goodwin but a plethora of other exciting youngsters to choose from next season.
Lucas Mauragis and Angus Thurgate were also excellent in both games, and Mauragis will stake a claim for a regular starting role next season.
The He Can't Catch A Break Award
It's probably been one of the worst weeks in Perth Glory defender Jonathan Aspropotamitis' career.
The ex-Wanderer netted two unfortunate own goals in matches against Brisbane and Newcastle, with neither result going the way of the Glory too.
The own goal against the Roar was particularly a lowlight, the defender getting his body position all wrong and slicing a tame cross into his net, despite being under no pressure whatsoever.
Shit... that was a bit awful from Aspro :( #BRIvPER— David Meacock (@meacod) June 2, 2021
Richard Garcia's side would ultimately lose 2-1, a result that eliminated them from finals contention.
Aspropotamitis wasn't done there, although I will say the second own goal was highly unfortunate.
Velaphi got a hand on Thurgate's low cross inside the six-yard box. The ball somehow deflected up onto Aspropotamitis' chest and into the gaping net.
Furious Glory fans are egging the defender's house as we speak.
The They Should Be There Award
Wellington was hoping that the Wanderers could do a job for them on Thursday night against Adelaide. If they had won, the Nix would be preparing for an elimination final right now.
Ufuk Talay's side did their part - although redundant in the end - perfectly, dismantling the ironically finals-bound Macarthur at Campbelltown Stadium 3-0.
The form of import Tomer Hemed has been sensational recently. He bagged another goal and assisted in the romp, whilst David Ball and Ben Waine continued their excellent recent goalscoring form.
The Phoenix finished the season on a terrific eleven-game unbeaten run. However, they have missed out on the six because they won only one of their first eight, to begin with, this campaign.
Had the season started in April, they would be in contention for a top-two spot. Based on current form, they should be in the finals over the likes of Adelaide and Macarthur. That pair has been far too inconsistent recently.
Talay has done a marvellous job in his two seasons in charge, transforming the Nix into a tactically shrewd outfit that possesses dangerous attacking threats.
However, with Ulises Davila headed to the Bulls and Cameron Devlin strongly linked with the Victory, they will need to replace what they've lost quickly in the off-season. Otherwise, a return to the finals won't be so straightforward next time around.