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2011/12 Review: Gold Coast United

Position: 10th

Change in position from 2010/11: ↓ 6

Win-draw-loss record: 4-9-14
(30 goals scored, 42 goals conceded)

Highest goalscorer: James Brown (6)

Average attendance: 3,438

Gold Coast in 2011/12 was a club riddled with problems, very few of which were on-field problems. Turmoil in the front-office led to the eventual removal of the club’s licence from the existing owners, and it’s hard to see how this couldn’t have had an effect on the on-field performance of the club. Players uncertain of their future, only one player on a contract beyond the current season – this doesn’t make for a positive footballing environment. However, the one word that sums up Gold Coast’s season is ‘promising’.

Before the season started, it was clear the focus at Gold Coast was going to be on youth. Glen Moss, Peter Jungschlager, Michael Thwaite, Kristian Rees and Paul Beekmans were to be the older spine of a team surrounded by exciting young talent and prospects. In the end, it’s fair to say that their 10th placed finish didn’t reflect the promise that this team showed, as the young brigade from the Gold Coast stood up and performed on the biggest stage. Halloran, Brown, Harold, Tyson, Bowles, Cooper – the list goes on. Whether the Gold Coast are still in the A-League come the 2012/13 season or not, the legacy of the last few seasons will be felt by the A-League, and Australian football in general, for some time to come.


Most Valuable Player: Ben Halloran. 21 games, 4 goals, 4 bookings
Having only played a tick over 200 minutes of football in 2010/11 for Gold Coast, Halloran’s meteoric rise to A-League star was somewhat unexpected. Not that we weren’t aware of his talent, but it was that he could realise it so quickly this season that shocked all and sundry. Despite missing the last five fixtures through injury, Halloran’s season to that point was enough to secure him a starting place in our very own Team of the Season, speaking volumes for just how good his 21 games were this season. His best on field performance against Adelaide at Hindmarsh Stadium, which included his debut A-League goal, was one of many highlights on a fantastic season. An honourable mention has to go out to Gold Coast skipper Michael Thwaite, who also had a very valuable season (both on and off the field) for the Gold Coast.


Rising Star: James Brown. 17 games, 6 goals, 4 bookings
Given we’ve already awarded the MVP to Ben Halloran, it seemed only fair to award the Rising Star to another of Gold Coast’s young brigade. To be fair, this award could’ve gone to about four different players – Halloran, Tyson, Brown and Bowles all could’ve laid claim to being the Gold Coast’s best up-and-comer. However, we’ve settled on James Brown. Late-season injuries curtailed what was going to be a stand-out season for Brown, after he bolted out of the gates at the start of the season with four goals in the opening 6 rounds. And what goals they were! His stunner against the Phoenix in round 1 was a sight to behold. As was his ripper in round 2 against the Mariners. With the uncertain future of Gold Coast United, Newcastle Jets were quick to snap up the talented midfielder before the end of the season, and will most certainly have one of the most talented attacking weapons at their disposal in 2012/13.


Most Underachieving Player: Maceo Rigters. 22 games, 4 goals, 4 bookings
With his strong presence, ability to easily hold off defenders, and bullet of a right boot it’s disappointing to see a season that delivered only four goals. Rigters is quite clearly a talented player and a threat in front of goal, but his intensity on the pitch, especially when his team doesn’t have possession of the ball, leaves a lot to be desired. The comparison in intensity to other strikers in the A-League, particularly the likes of Besart Berisha, leaves Rigters looking second-rate. If Gold Coast stick around next season, and Rigters is part of the set-up, hopefully a better pre-season and an increase in his desire will reap a more productive season.


Most Underrated Player: Adama Traore. 27 games, 1 goal, 5 bookings
If Rigters is the epitome of low intensity, then Traore is the opposite. His work ethic on the pitch is second-to-none, and his value to the team cannot be undersold. Playing and starting in all 27 of Gold Coast’s fixtures this season, Traore was always there with the second effort, and was always willing to do the hard work to help his teammates. Melbourne Victory have already snapped him up for next season, so it will be interesting to see how he performs under the increased scrutiny that comes with playing in Melbourne.


Your Thoughts:
Just like us, you were as undecided on who Gold Coast’s best were this season. Halloran was a popular choice, as was James Brown, with the likes of Peter Jungschlager and Jerrad Tyson also getting some ‘love’ from the public. Here were some of the responses from Twitter and Facebook:

@Gligsy23: gcu’s best would have to be Ben halloran and James brown
@Liam Campfens: James Brown for Gold Coast had a good season. Rigters big underachiever. Jungslager was pretty good too.
@Amon Bradshaw: Gold Coast had many close games, could have easily finished mid table without all the other crap
@Melinda Green: Captains of both Gold Coast and Adelaide had very good seasons.

What do you think? Did we get our selections right? Have your say on Gold Coast United’s season below…

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avatarThis post was written by a Staff Writer for Ultimate A-League

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  • Anthony Genualdi

    Let’s hope the youngsters can get picked up by other teams if there’s no GCU nex year.