45-42: Polkinghorne, Risdon, Naumoff & Behich
45 CLARE POLKINGHORNE
Workhorse, Player’s Player
Position Defender Club Brisbane Roar
A former champion hurdler who switched to football under Mike Mulvey’s tutelage, the quiet-achieving, forensic psychology-studying ‘Polks’, 26, whose leadership style is evidenced in action more than words, has proved one of the most integral players for both club and country.
SHE SAID: “One of the greatest challenges for me was to develop my technical game.”
THEY SAID: “Polkinghorne’s height made her a prized player in a short-statured league [in Japan].” Damien Stannard
44 JOSH RISDON
Position Right back Club Perth Glory
His screamer in March was a contender for goal of the year... and ended Glory’s nine games without a win. It topped off a great year which saw Risdon, 22, break onto the Socceroos radar with a spot in the 46-man squad for the Asian Cup.
HE SAID: “My main job is to defend but I like to venture forward to help out. Hopefully my chance comes for the Socceroos.”
THEY SAID: “There’s no better right-back in the league...great feet, instinctive, and superb when there’s bodies around him.” Kenny Lowe.
43 CHRIS NAUMOFF
Lethal Young Gun
Position Attacking midfielder Club Sydney FC
Was a star against EPL giants Spurs and Chelsea but Kiki, 20, was outstanding in almost every game he played...and got better as the season went on. Naumoff is a massive prospect – and next year could be huge for him.
HE SAID: “I’m getting more and more comfortable. All I can ask for is more game time. I always have faith in my own abilities.”
THEY SAID: “He has a huge amount of talent. It’s one of the reasons that he has played nearly every game this year.” Graham Arnold.
42 AZIZ BEHICH
Position Leftback Club Bursaspor
The 24 year old released by Melbourne Victory not so long ago to play for a State league side is now an Asian Cup- winning Socceroo in Europe, and a possible answer to the problematic left back role. His career defines never giving up.
HE SAID: “You have to take your chance every time it’s given.“
THEY SAID: “To take Aziz from the state leagues of Victoria to face the likes of Didier Drogba is something Melbourne Heart can be enormously proud.” John Aloisi.