17yo’s rapid rise continues with masterclass v A-Leagues rivals as Young Socceroos come calling: 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.

Featured image: Ethan Wright

Two-goal hero settles rivalry showdown in Victoria

Medin Memeti starred for Melbourne City in VPL1 over the weekend.

The 17-year-old – called up by the Young Socceroos on Monday – scored twice as City took down rivals Western United 2-1 in Tarneit on Sunday evening.

His two-goal first half set the tone for City, who held on to condemn Western to back-to-back defeats having gone seven games unbeaten in Victoria’s second tier.

Luke Vickery, who signed his first professional contract this off-season, did score for the home side at Ironbark Field, but it was not enough.

As for Memeti, it continues his rise in 2024.

Memeti, who joined City’s academy from Dandenong Thunder in 2022, scored a hat-trick on his NPL debut as a 15-year-old last May.

The teenager came off the bench 10 minutes into the second half with City trailing Brunswick City 2-0 last season and scored in the 70th, 86th and 89th minutes to inspire a wild comeback.

In September, Memeti made his senior debut as a late substitute in City’s Australia Cup clash against MetroStars while he was on the bench in two AFC Champions League matches in 2023-24.

This year, he has scored nine goals for a City outfit sitting seventh in the standings.

Western are fourth and point behind league-leading Melbourne Victory, who took down lowly Werribee City 2-0.

Adem Duratovic and Marc Petheriotis were on target for Victory.

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At U23 level, the ASEAN U16 Boys’ Championship’s joint leading goalscorer Anthony Didulica was back in action.

After sharing the Golden Boot with Brisbane Roar’s Quinn MacNicol as the Subway Joeys won the tournament in Indonesia on Wednesday, Didulica lined up for Western in their 5-1 loss to City.

Western are one point clear of Bulleen Lions atop the table, with Victory three points further back. City are fifth – 12 points off the pace.

In NPLW VIC, Calder United drew 1-1 with Bentleigh Greens.

Over in NPLM WA, Perth Glory went down 6-3 to Armadale as they remain in the relegation play-off spot.

Sebastian Despotovski, Royie Rahimim and Aiki Tsukamoto scored for the Glory.

Wanderers youngster scores another free-kick in breakout season

Ryley Hollingdale is building quite the highlights reel.

The Western Sydney Wanderers youngster scored another fine free-kick in a 2-2 draw against St George Saints in NPLM NSW on Saturday night.

Hollingdale, who on Monday was called up by the Young Socceroos for the upcoming ASEAN Under-19 Boys’ Championship in Indonesia, curled his set-piece into the back of the net after just 51 seconds.

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The lead lasted just a minute as St George Saints hit back before Dallo Sandy restored the Wanderers’ advantage 13 minutes from the end, only for Jaden Casella to complete his double five minutes later.

“For the neutrals it was a good game,” said Western Sydney assistant Richard Cardozo via NPL NSW.

“We’re disappointed we haven’t gotten the win, I felt we were the better side and controlled the game even though St George had some decent chances and our ‘keeper (Tristan Vidackovic) made some great saves but we walk away with the draw.

“The first 10-15 minutes were a bit cagey despite the early goals but I feel we controlled the latter stages of the half where we held possession very well.

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“They had some decent chances, our ‘keeper made some very good saves but we feel we should have had a penalty in the second-half that didn’t go our way but overall the boys showed great character throughout, kept the momentum high and showed improvement from the last couple of weeks although they’ve done all we’ve asked of them and have been playing well.

“It would have been a great game for the fans.”

It is not the only free-kick Hollingdale has scored for Western Sydney this season.

The 19-year-old defensive midfielder also found the back of the net via a stunning set-piece in a wild derby win over Sydney FC in April.

Hollingdale has scored four goals in 2024, having cemented his place in the starting XI.

A boyhood Wanderers fan, Hollingdale joined Western Sydney from Sutherland Sharks in 2020 and quickly progressed through the ranks at Wanderland.

He broke into the first-grade NPL team midway through last season as the Wanderers avoided relegation, while he has also trained with the Isuzu UTE A-League outfit.

“I have trained with the first team… it’s definitely good to be exposed to that sort of environment, and it’s always a factor to push you because you want to be training with them everyday,” Hollingdale told the Wanderers.

Elsewhere, Sydney FC boosted their survival hopes with an important 2-1 win over St George City.

Mathias Macallister and Wataru Kamijo scored for the Sky Blues, who are third from bottom and six points clear of bottom-placed Central Coast Mariners.

Macallister is the son of Dylan, a former Isuzu UTE A-League striker with Central Coast Mariners, Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne City.

The 17-year-old forward has now scored six goals this term, having only burst onto the scene a couple of weeks ago, after opening the scoring inside nine minutes at Penshurst Park – where Kamijo netted the 69th-minute winner.

“It was a good win for us and for a young side the boys showed some really good character,” said head coach Jim Van Weeren via NPL NSW.

“It was great defending especially in the end there when they [St George] were putting balls into the box and I am really proud of all of our boys.

“I think we played some great patches of football and could have easily scored three or four goals tonight. We looked very good going forward which is also really positive.”

The Mariners, meanwhile, lost 1-0 to Marconi Stallions.

However, Central Coast’s Under-20 team are second in the table – just one point behind Rockdale Ilinden with Western Sydney fourth.

In NPLW NSW, golden boot leader Amber Luchtmeijer scored another two goals in Bulls FC Academy’s entertaining 5-3 loss at Gladesville Ravens.

The 17-year-old has scored 17 goals this season – level with Gladesville’s Isabella Habuda.

Emerging Jets, meanwhile, lost 6-0 to Macarthur Rams.

Jets soaring to unprecedented heights as Bulls go top

Can anyone stop Newcastle Jets? As it stands, the answer is no.

The high-flying Jets have played 22 matches this season in Football NSW’s League Two and are yet to lose following their 3-0 win over second-placed Bankstown United on Friday night.

Amid their historic season, Newcastle edged closer to the league title and promotion thanks to goals from Ben Van Dorssen, Amos Okumu and Alex Nunes.

Newcastle used a three-goal second half to dispatch Bankstown, who had a player sent off in the 78th minute after Van Dorssen had put the Jets ahead 16 minutes earlier.

Okumu converted a penalty after the red card before Nunes bagged his ninth goal of the season with a strike from outside the box.

Local product Nunes recently signed a two-year scholarship contract in Newcastle, where he has played for the Jets since the age of nine after relocating from Darwin.

The Jets have 17 wins and five draws from 22 matches as they moved to 56 points in 2024.

Newcastle’s Under-20 side are also top of the table through 21 games, 10 points clear of Central Coast United.

In the league above, Bulls FC Academy are also top of the standings after edging Canterbury Bankstown 2-1 away from home.

The Bulls trailed heading approaching the hour-mark when Zane Helweh’s deflected free-kick found the back of the net in the 60th minute.

Luca Pecora scored five minutes later to give Craig Noone’s Bulls the lead and the win.

Bulls FC Academy’s U20 team also occupy top position with a 10-point cushion atop the summit.