With the A-League regular season originally scheduled for an April end, it seems fitting we look back at the best that was before the coronavirus outbreak.
Sunday marked what would have been the final round of the 2019-20 campaign, with the league’s suspension since leaving fans, players and pundits all unsure of what’s next.
Although there were five rounds remaining in the season, the players produced several standout moments - with some even securing a place in the following team of the season with a twist.
The 'select XI' below may only feature one player from each A-League club and represent the best each had to offer based solely on performance - not reputation.
Think you can create a side stronger than ours? Let us know!
GK: Mark Birighitti (CCM)
One of the few shining lights at the Mariners this season, Birighitti’s level of play between the sticks has been the difference between bad and woefully worse in Gosford.
On track for one of their worst campaigns in club history, the 29-year-old’s 88 saves are the most in the league and perhaps the only positive coach Alen Stajcic can take from what’s been rather forgettable thus far.
LB: Daniel Georgievski (WSW)
Georgievski remains one of the best full-backs in the league and his performances with the Wanderers serve as yet another reason why.
The 32-year-old has split his playing time across both flanks due to his teammates’ inconstancy this season and has even found success further up the pitch as part of a back five.
With three clean sheets and as many assists through 19 appearances, the North Macedonia international’s presence has proven crucial to the club’s pursuit of the six.
CB: James Donachie (MVC)
A free agent at season’s end, Donachie has done his future no harm during what’s been an unprecedented season for the four-time champions.
Victory, on pace for their worst-ever finish and points total, have seen injury and poor form scupper several signings, but the 26-year-old has not been one of them.
His five clean sheets are a sound figure under the circumstances, particularly when interim coach Carlos Salvachua continues to tinker with both formation and defensive personnel on a weekly basis.
CB: Nikolai Topor-Stanley (NEW)
Topor-Stanley has earned his reputation as one of the A-League’s most consistent players.
The 35-year-old signed a contract extension last season and while his teammates struggled under Ernie Merrick this time out, Carl Robinson’s arrival has seen the enduring defender go from strength to strength.
Having played in every game through the current campaign, the former Socceroo has a career-high three goals and four clean sheets as the resurgent Jets sit three points outside the top six.
RB: Josh Risdon (WUN)
As United’s debut campaign continues to flirt with a finals berth, Risdon remains one of Mark Rudan’s most significant players.
The 27-year-old has been deployed on the right-hand side of a back five and repaid the faith with seven assists and four clean sheets this season.
Risdon’s impressive assists total has come in just 16 appearances for the club and is enough to leave the Socceroo second among his peers with five rounds remaining.
CM: Jay O'Shea (BRI)
Brisbane Roar’s marathon man has been a key figure in the club’s change of fortunes for coach Robbie Fowler this season.
A versatile central midfielder, O’Shea’s quality has helped the Roar race to fourth place off the back of just two defeats in their last 13 matches.
The 31-year-old has created 67 chances this season, second-best in the league, and has five assists to go with a breakthrough goal that could beckon more once play resumes.
CM: Neil Kilkenny (PER)
Age is just a number for Kilkenny, who, at 34, has shown no signs of slowing down.
The veteran has been a mainstay in midfield for reigning Premiers Perth Glory and is often the architect of every foray forward.
With two goals and three assists, along with 45 chances created, the deep-lying playmaker’s impressive return only adds to his desperation to avenge last season’s gut-wrenching grand final defeat.
CAM: Riley McGree (ADE)
Simply put, no other Australian midfielder has matched McGree’s performances this season.
The 21-year-old has carried Adelaide during a collectively inconsistent campaign and was a shout for national team attention before its subsequent suspension.
With 10 goals and 5 assists in 18 appearances, the struggling Reds would be far worse off without their signing of the season, who had inked a three-year deal before the club stood down their entire squad and staff.
CAM: Ulises Davila (WEL)
Ufuk Talay’s success with the Phoenix has gone hand-in-hand with the arrival of Davila.
The Mexican was in the midst of an incredible debut campaign, boasting 11 goals and five assists as the Kiwi club sought a top two finish.
With no compatriot in the A-League before him, the former Chelsea signing has been an instant success down under and had fans and pundits in awe ahead of what looked certain to be a promising end to the season.
ST: Adam Le Fondre (SFC)
If fans thought Le Fondre's first season in the A-League was impressive, his second will have them think again.
The Englishman, currently one goal shy of his previous mark, has found the back of the net 17 times in just 20 games this time out, with Sydney FC surging towards their third Premiers Plate in four seasons.
Neck-and-neck in the race for the golden boot, the potent poacher will hope to move clear and secure the coveted accolade as soon as possible.
ST: Jamie Maclaren (MCY)
Maclaren’s first full season back in the A-League has been nothing short of spectacular.
The Socceroos striker set the competition alight this season with 18 goals as City set out to cement second place behind Sydney FC.
Such a return has the 26-year-old on pace to rival the second-best goal tally in A-League history, and with four goals in his last three games, he could add more once Erick Mombaerts’ side return to action.