The A-Leagues’ monthly awards have been dominated by Wellington Phoenix in October and November, with all four individual awards going to players and coaches from the New Zealand outfit.
Wellington head coaches Paul Temple and Giancarlo Italiano, together with Phoenix goalkeepers Rylee Foster and Alex Paulsen were all judged Player or Coach of the Month in their respective leagues, as reward for their contribution to a stellar start to the season in both the Isuzu UTE A-League Men and Liberty A-League Women.
In the Isuzu UTE A-League Men, Wellington head coach Giancarlo Italiano has picked up the Coach of the Month award for October/November after a fan vote.
Italiano was nominated for alongside Melbourne Victory’s Tony Popovic, Adelaide United’s Carl Veart and Brisbane Roar’s Ross Aloisi by Football Coaches Australia’s voting panel of Catherine Cannuli, Sarah West, John Kosmina, Ian Greener and Gary Cole.
Italiano’s Wellington sit first on the A-League Men table after six rounds, having not lost a game to date.
That same panel elected four nominees for the Liberty A-League Women edition of the October award, with Wellington’s Paul Temple beating Perth Glory’s Alex Epakis, Melbourne City’s Dario Vidosic and Melbourne Victory’s Jeff Hopkins in the fan vote.
Temple’s Wellington sit third on the A-League Women table and bumped Perth Glory off the top of the table in their last game in November.
The Phoenix accolades didn’t stop there. Alex Paulsen was adjudged A-League Men Player of the Month for October/November after a fan vote, leading a 10-player shortlist of nominees selected via the Opta Index.
The Opta Index is based on totals in a variety of statistics for each player. The index score uses subcomponents (such as shooting, passing, defending), corresponding to different qualitative aspects of a player’s performance.
These component scores are combined to create an overall rating for each player. The formula that works out the overall match rating have been developed by Opta’s own team of data scientists in conjunction with our award-winning Data Editorial team.
Paulsen’s Opta Index of 78.7 saw him sneak into the top 10 performers across five games in October and November, keeping two clean sheets and making 19 saves along the way.
Paulsen was voted Player of the Month by the fans, defeating Joe Gauci, Filip Kurto, Ben Halloran, Apostolos Stamatelopoulos, Josh Brillante, Lawrence Thomas, Oskar Zawada, Jay O’Shea and Bruno Fornaroli.
In the A-League Women, Phoenix keeper Foster edged out Melbourne City’s Holly McNamara in a closely-run fan vote to claim Player of the Month honours. Foster had an Opta Index of 69.6 across five games, keeping one clean sheet and making 20 saves.
Foster beat McNamara, Vesna Milivojevic, Emily van Egmond, Michelle Heyman, Emina Ekic, Courtney Newbon, Morgan Aquino, Jordan Silkowitz and Rachel Lowe.