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Five Phoenix in A-League Team of Year

Updated: May 17

Five Wellington Phoenix players plus the coach have been named in the A-League players team of the year
Phoenix goal keeper Alex Paulsen makes a save for the Nix and is named in the Team of the Year PHOTO: LINTOTT PHOTOGRAPHY

Five Wellington Phoenix players, plus coach Giancarlo Italiano have been named in the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) A-League Team of the Year, four in the starting lineup.


The team is selected on votes from players, with Phoenix goalkeeper Alex Paulsen, midfielder Alex Rufer and defenders Scott Wootten and Tim Payne all named in the starting XI, while striker Kosta Barbarouses was named in the reserves.


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At the end of each season, PFA members from the A-Leagues are asked to vote with the composition of the team based on the number of votes tallied for each player in each position,.


The substitutes bench comprising those players who finished below those in the starting XI positions.


Paulsen received the most votes from his peers, with a stand out season which has helped the Phoenix through to the semi-finals and chasing their first grand final in the 17 years of the club.

The 21-year-old kept 11 clean sheets, and registered a league-high save percentage of 80.9 percent.


Paulsen has saved three of the five penalties he faced this season.

"It's very humbling to receive the most votes from my peers ... there's a lot of incredible talent within the league so this is a great honour," said Paulsen.



The Phoenix had the league's best defensive record during the regular season conceding only 26 goals, which resulted in defender Wooten and Payne making the PFA's Team of the Year starting lineup.


Captain Rufer was included having provided a steadying presence in the middle of the park for the side all season.


Striker Barbarouses is in the team for the third time, while Italiano, in his first season as head coach, was voted to manage the side.


Italiano took over from Ufuk Talay in the off-season, after serving as his assistant at the Phoenix, and made an immediate impact, taking Wellington into second place on the standings.


PFA A-LEAGUE TEAM OF THE YEAR


Alex Paulsen (Wellington Phoenix) Tim Payne (Wellington Phoenix), Scott Wootton (Wellington Phoenix) Brian Kaltak (Central Coast Mariners) Jacob Farrell (Central Coast Mariners) Alex Rufer (Wellington Phoenix) Josh Nisbet (Central Coast Mariners)

Tolgay Arslan (Melbourne City) Joe Lolley (Sydney FC) Adam Taggart (Perth Glory) Bruno Fornaroli (Melbourne Victory)


Substitutes: Jake Girdwood-Reich (Sydney FC), Damien Da Silva (Melbourne Victory), Marcelo (Western Sydney Wanderers), Anthony Caceres (Sydney FC), Kosta Barbarouses (Wellington Phoenix), Apostolos Stamatelopoulos (Newcastle Jets), Danny Vukovic (Central Coast Mariners)


Coach: Giancarlo Italiano (Wellington Phoenix)

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