Every A-League round, we hand out our FTBL awards for the brilliant, bad and bizarre moments each week. In round 15, one team pulled out all the tricks and flicks, one player continued to add to his remarkable goalscoring exploits, whilst another provided one of the best assists of the season.
The Flair Award
This award goes to Adelaide United, who were pulling out all the tricks and flicks in Wednesday's 3-1 win over Macarthur.
First, Al Hassan Toure came off the bench and dazzled with his close control, somehow getting out of a tight area on the left-hand side and beating three Bulls' players in the process.
The clip went viral across the world, but the Reds still had time for more ridiculous skills.
Ben Halloran then scored an audacious backheel volley from close range to seal the points.
The only disappointment from Halloran's strike was that a lengthy VAR check took away the fan's emotion slightly.
Nonetheless, Carl Veart's side a full of confidence at the moment, and the flair they played with on Wednesday was evidence of that.
The On A Plate Award
Joey Champness has been in fine form for the Brisbane Roar recently. This week, he gets an award for a perfect square ball to tee up Riku Danzaki against the Wanderers on Friday.
Jay O'Shea's pinpoint pass down the left-hand side found Champness, who brilliantly arrowed the ball across with his first touch for Danzaki to tap in with ease.
Joey Champness is fizzing them all over the place.— MR (@Roucek) April 16, 2021
Brenton Speed's reaction in the commentary box suited the pass perfectly; this was an OMG moment.
Champness is a very talented player. If he keeps producing assists like that, the Roar will find themselves playing finals football this season.
The Archie Thompson Award
Jamie Maclaren receives this award after his incredible five-goal haul in the Melbourne Derby on Saturday, a feat achieved only once previously by Victory legend Thompson.
Thompson's bag of strikes came in that infamous Grand Final against Adelaide back in 2007.
Archie looks like he wants to punch Jamie Maclaren 😂— SalTalksSoccer (@SalTalksSoccer) April 17, 2021
First of all, we should point out that the Victory is an absolute disaster right now (their defending of Maclaren's second-half strikes was embarrassing).
However, Maclaren's form is putting him in the conversation of the all-time great strikers in the competition.
Against Sydney last week, he surpassed Shane Smeltz to go second on the all-time A-League goalscorer list.
He probably has another five seasons or so to pass Besart Berisha's 140 (although Berisha could yet add to his) and will surely beat Bobo's single-season record of 27.
With 19 goals in 16 this season, he is currently scoring at a rate of 1.2 goals per game.
I could keep listing the impressive stats, but the bottom line is that Maclaren is now in a new tier of strikers this league has ever seen, and he doesn't look like slowing down.
The Resilience Award
This award goes to Macarthur's Charles M'Mombwa for finding a way to pursue his football dream, despite facing the challenge of ridiculous and inflated fees at the junior level in Australia.
As mentioned in the commentary on Sunday night, M'Mombwa migrated here from the Democratic Republic of Congo and played youth football with Mount Druitt Town Rangers in Western Sydney.
However, his family and friends had to round up the funds needed to pay his junior fees.
If only playing junior football in Australia wasn’t so expensive,we would see lots more of the likes of M’Mombwa,Kuol,Yengi etc in the A-League.#MACvNEW— TheRealDeathStare (@SamBorraccino) April 18, 2021
His support network deserves enormous credit for realising his potential and going out of their way to ensure he made it.
This resilient attitude towards football is something we sorely lack in our young players, particularly when they move overseas and face constant adversities.
However, M'Mombwa seems to have this ingrained in him.
The 23-year-old's reward was a goal in the 2-2 draw with Newcastle, and it was great that his support crew were there to share the moment with him.
The Like He Never Left Award
Joel Chianese has re-established himself within Perth Glory's set up, scoring twice in a week, and that's why he gets this award.
Chianese was only announced on the day of Perth's 1-1 draw with Newcastle in Coffs Harbour last Tuesday but still came off the bench to equalise.
He then added to his perfect start with a stunning left-footed strike against Wellington on Sunday, a rare highlight for the Glory in a 3-1 defeat.
Chianese moved to India and eat, pray, love'd himself into being an absolute baller— Chicken Treat Fan Club (@GrouseGrant) April 18, 2021
Chianese was excellent under Tony Popovic. If his start is anything to go by, he will find the same rich vein of form under Richard Garcia.
However, Perth needs others around him to start firing, too, to turn their season around and make the six.