Harry Kewell proved he was still one of Australia’s most gifted players and James Jeggo showed his enormous potential in what was an otherwise disappointing 2011/12 Hyundai A-League campaign for the Melbourne Victory.
Harry Kewell proved he was still one of Australia-s most gifted players and James Jeggo showed his enormous potential in what was an otherwise disappointing 2011/12 Hyundai A-League campaign for the Melbourne Victory.
The marquee signing of Kewell in the pre-season drew plenty of attention, with some questioning whether the 56-time Socceroo had the ability to perform in an improving A-League.
Kewell finished the campaign with eight goals, and was a key in most of Victory's promising attacking play, as the two-time champions ended up eighth.
In other promising signs, Austrian-born midfielder Jeggo came onto the scene late in the season to consolidate a spot in the centre of midfield.
The 20-year-old impressed in the National Youth League before being given a regular chance in the senior side by coach Jim Magilton, who took over from Mehmet Durakovic.
Jeggo made nine league appearances, and also struck a brilliant 20-yard goal in a 3-0 win over the Wellington Phoenix in March.
While it was one of the finer strikes from a player in Victory colours this season, Costa Rican Carlos Hernandez took out Solo Goal of the Year honours at the A-League awards night.
The attacker's tremendously struck effort against the Central Coast Mariners in February underlined his quality and technique.
Goalkeeper Ante Covic and striker Archie Thompson also had strong campaigns.
Under Durakovic, Victory made a slow start to the season and had to wait until week four to score their first goal and register their opening win.
Thompson, the only Victory player in the starting 11 of the Players' Football Association Team of the Year, and Hernandez were on the scoresheet in the win in New Zealand.
There were only two wins - and several draws - for Durakovic's team in the first eight weeks of the campaign.
The second win, which came against Gold Coast United in November last year, also saw Kewell net his first goal in Victory colours, from the penalty spot.
Durakovic was sacked 14 matches into the season, with Magilton given the big task of turning around Victory's campaign.
The Northern Irishman was also forced to wait for his first win, with Victory giving up several leads and hurting their chances of securing a top-six spot.
But when the win did come, it came in spectacular style as his side beat the high-flying Mariners 2-1.
After Hernandez had cancelled out Tomas Rogic's brilliant eighth-minute opener, Kewell volleyed home what was the winner just after half-time.
Kewell also hit a brace in Victory's next outing - a 3-2 loss to Brisbane - in a game from which Victory arguably deserved at least a point.
With their finals chances over, the side's last win of the campaign came with a 3-0 defeat of the Phoenix in front of the dedicated AAMI Park faithful.
Magilton left Melbourne on April 1 to return to the United Kingdom.