15yo sensation ‘ready’ for A-League after breakout game to remember: Wonderkid Watch

Welcome to Wonderkid Watch: A weekly piece that keeps you up to date with the players and stories emerging from A-Leagues clubs playing at NPL level in Australia.


Adelaide teen boosts A-League case with match-winning performance

We could be seeing a lot more of Amlani Tatu in the Isuzu UTE A-League next season, if his NPL form is anything to go by.

The 15-year-old prodigy came off the bench at half-time and scored his first goals at senior level over the weekend, bagging a game-winning brace to lead Adelaide United past Adelaide City in NPLM SA.

Tatu scored twice in the space of four minutes to turn the match on its head during the final nine minutes of regulation at Adelaide City Park.

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After the match, X account Aussie Scout wrote: “He should be playing A-League next week. He is ready.”

Only last month, Tatu represented the Joeys on a two-week camp in Italy, scoring for Australia in a 4-3 win over Switzerland’s Under-16 team.

In Tatu, who is yet to make his A-Leagues bow, Adelaide may have already found their Nestory Irankunda replacement.

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Irankunda is set to move to Bayern Munich at the end of the 2023-24 Isuzu UTE A-League season after signing a contract with the German giants last year but Adelaide’s famed production line already has an exciting prospect emerging to fill the 18-year-old’s boots.

Tatu is highly regarded in South Australia and the teenager lit up Adelaide’s season opener in March – his starting debut.

The teen is a winger known for taking on players and his explosiveness on the ball.

“Despite his tender age of 15 years and 7 months, budding winger Amlani Tatu left a lasting impression with some explosive moments on debut,” wrote Adelaide United’s official website.

Tatu has come into the 2024 season amid rave reviews in Adelaide.

Last year, he was a standout at the Under-15 National Championships, scoring twice for South Australia against eventual champions Victoria Blue.

Tatu also scored an outrageous goal at last year’s African Nations Cup, which was actually captured on film and published on social media by Irankunda himself.

Western in seventh heaven against promotion hopefuls

Western United produced a merciless display in VPL1 over the weekend.

They humbled promotion aspirants Langwarrin 7-0 at the Regional Football Facility in Tarneit on Sunday afternoon.

It was one-way traffic in Melbourne’s west, where the home side used a four-goal first half to set the tone.

Max Bisetto and Luke Vickery finished with two goals apiece, while Nicolas Koek, Campbell Dovison and Obiora Eze were also on target.

With that goal, Koek is now the joint top goalscorer with seven goals in the second tier of Victorian football.

Formerly at Altona Magic, he joined Western United in 2022 and has continued to impress.


“With strong physical attributes typical of a traditional striker, Koek is also capable of playing in wide areas given his speed. He has an excellent eye for goal with technical quality to be clinical when chances arise,” said academy director Anthony Frost.

“We have seen good incremental progression from Nick during his time with us and looking forward to seeing him build on the opportunities given to him at senior level this season.”

Melbourne Victory continue to top the standings while remaining unbeaten through 11 rounds – 10 points better off than fourth-placed Western.

Victory were too strong for Bulleen Lions 5-2 on Saturday afternoon – their fifth consecutive win.

Brought on for the final 15 minutes, Tommaso Minutoli struck twice at the death to cap the result.


Eli Adams, Adem Duratovic and Luka Kolic also scored at the Home of the Matildas.

Melbourne City, meanwhile, lost 1-0 to Bentleigh Greens as they sit 12th and just three points above the bottom position.

In NPLW VIC, Calder United were beaten 2-1 by Boroondara Eagles.

Mariners stop the rot in NSW

Luka Smyth was the hero for Central Coast Mariners in NPLM NSW over the weekend.

Smyth scored twice in the first half to lead bottom side the Mariners past Sutherland Sharks 3-2 on Sunday evening – snapping an eight-match winless streak.

The 19-year-old, who is yet to make his A-Leagues debut, has now scored nine goals this season. Only three other players have found the back of the net more often in 2024 – Alec Urosevski (Rockdale City – 13), Nathaneal Blair (Western Sydney Wanderers – 12) and Jak O’Brien (Blacktown City – 10).

Lucas Scicluna also scored for the Mariners, who were back at home after five weeks on the road.

“It’s good to be back in the winner’s circle, but again we don’t just look at results because I believe we have had a lot of wins during this season,” said head coach Lucas Vilela via NPL NSW.

“The boys are growing and maturing and the chances we are creating shows the boys are becoming more connected and understanding of each other.”

“The boys trust me as much as I trust them, and I am so proud.”

League-leading Western Sydney Wanderers were sensationally beaten 6-0 by APIA Leichhardt in a statement result while Sydney FC lost 2-0 against Sydney United.

In NPLW NSW, Emerging Jets almost pulled off a wild comeback against league-leading Manly United.

From 3-0 down, Claire Adams and Chloe Walandouw scored within four minutes to setup a grandstand finish but Manly held on 3-2.

Bulls FC Academy lost 5-2 to Northern Tigers

Bulls youngster starring on and off the field

Bulls FC Academy returned to winning ways in NSW’s League One after defeating Rydalmere Lions.

Flynn Madden fuelled the win with two goals, while Dean Bosnjak also scored for Craig Noone’s Bulls.

Madden is making an impact, on and off the field in NSW.


The 19-year-old, who is eyeing an A-Leagues debut under Mile Sterjovski at Macarthur FC, is the founder of XEO Sports, which sells clothing for athletes and also holds football clinics in Wollongong and the Southern Highlands.

During the week, Madden trains in the mornings with the Bulls and then runs coaching clinics in the afternoons.

“At first I was just coaching close family friends but soon the demand got out of hand and I realised there was a real need for coaching clinics in the Woonona area,” Madden told the Illawarra Mercury.

“I love what we do. I thrive off helping younger players and seeing them improve each day I am with them.

“From the age of three to four all I can remember is having a football at my feet, always wanting to be kicking it about.

“I started playing for the Woonona Sharks at five-years-old and since the age of 9 have worked under a range of top coaches at NPL Level. I love being able to work with young kids and discuss ways to improve and strongly implement the key values of XEO Sports into the players- hard work and consistent development.”

In League Two, Newcastle Jets drew 1-1 Inner West Hawks thanks to a free-kick via Janni Rafty.

Over in NPLM QLD, Brisbane Roar topped Olympic FC 3-2 courtesy of Ayom Majok and Quinn MacNicol plus an own goal.

In New Zealand’s Central League, Wellington Phoenix lost 4-2 to Wellington Olympic. Gabriel Sloane-Rodrigues and Luke Supyk scored at the death after the Phoenix had trailed 4-0.