19 & 18: Thompson and Franjic

A smiling assassin who refuses to go quietly, and an international late bloomer who stepped it up in the recent Asian Cup, make their entrance in FourFourTwo's Top 50 Aussies.


Star Undimmed

Position Attacker Club Melbourne Victory

It was supposed to be a quiet year for Thompson before likely farewelling the Victory faithful at season’s end. Instead, he continued in style. Thompson scored 11 league goals despite 10 of his 26 appearances coming off the bench. It was his best goal return since 2009/10 as he helped Victory to the Premiership-Championship double, taking his tally of A-League goals to a record 89.

Even at 36, Thompson proved himself as one of the league’s best. He is still quick and makes smart runs, while he finishes his chances more often than not. A hat-trick against Sydney FC in December last year was part of his incredible season.

There’s no slowing down Thompson, whose durability continues to amaze. He has scored multiple goals in every A-League season, with his 15 (including five in the Grand Final) in 2006/07 his best.

HE SAID: “I think I’ve done well this year with the limited time that I’ve had. I’ve scored 11 goals. When I’ve started matches I’ve performed and done a job.”

THEY SAID: “His contribution over a decade is unprecedented in our code in this country or in fact in any code.” Kevin Muscat



Position Defender Club Melbourne City

A difficult season at club level was made worthwhile for Franjic thanks to his important role in the Socceroos’ Asian Cup triumph.

The fullback only made five appearances for Torpedo Moscow in Russia, yet Ange Postecoglou still had faith in Franjic – who has now signed for Melbourne City – at international level. It proved justified. Franjic, 27, played in all six of Australia’s Asian Cup outings, with his performances at right-back a key reason for the Socceroos’ success. He played the final with a strained adductor, lasting 74 minutes before hobbling off.

It was also injury that cut short his World Cup, a hamstring tear ruling him out after the defeat to Chile in the opener. Postecoglou’s faith in the former Brisbane Roar man shows just how highly he is rated, and he will get a chance to show his worth with a return to the A-League.

He has improved defensively and his ability to get forward – remember his outstanding displays on the right side of midfield during his time at the Roar – make him extremely valuable.

HE SAID: “It was hard to adapt to Russia at the start, then I started adapting. Obviously I had the break with the Socceroos for the Asian Cup then I got injured and it was difficult from back then.