Everyone loves a comeback story. From players rediscovering form to clubs bouncing back from humiliating losses, the A-League has played host to plenty of footballing highs and lows over the years.

The Football Sack takes a look at some of the best moments a player or team has proved the naysayers wrong and hopped back on the horse.

Jets learning to fly again in 2017/18

After two wooden spoons in three seasons things were looking bleak for Newcastle Jets. Enter Coach Ernie Merrick who completely revamped the squad for the 2017/18 season with a host of impressive signings including Dimitri Petratos, Roy O’Donovan, Daniel Georgievski and Nikolai Topor-Stanley. Currently in second place the Jets are playing with a level of quality worlds apart from last season and look primed to replicate the efforts of their fabled 2007/8 championship winning campaign.

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Ange proves critics wrong

Ange Postecoglou was not expected to change much when he replaced Frank Farina as coach of a struggling Brisbane Roar outfit in 2009. “Judge me in a year’s time” was his response and surely enough come next season he had proved the critics wrong with a brand of football that revolutionised the domestic game in Australia. He won back to back titles with “Roarcelona” and the rest is Socceroos history.

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Sydney Derby II

The second ever Sydney Derby saw Western Sydney Wanderers take out their first derby win and ensure the intense rivalry between the two sides was kept even. Wanderers hero Youssouf Hersi knocked home the first goal before ex-Sydney FC player Michael Beauchamp fired past Ivan Necevski to double their lead and ensure the win. Pandemonium erupted in the away bays and the Sydney became a city divided like never before.

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Heart topple Victory

For a new club entering the A-League the first season is make or break. When Melbourne Heart faced cross town behemoths Melbourne Victory in the cities first ever derby in 2010 most expected the new kid on the bloke to get thumped. Thanks to goals from veteran John Aloisi and Brazilian winger Alex Terra the Heart managed to earn bragging rights over their more-fancied rivals and gave the club some much needed credibility.

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 Nix hang on

Wellington Phoenix barely got off the ground during their first two seasons in the A-League and the pressure was mounting for the club to deliver the goods. The league expanded to 10 teams during the 2009/10 season and the club was on the path of their fallen predecessors New Zealand Knights. A turnaround season for the Nix saw them fight their way to the Preliminary Final against Sydney FC to unfortunately be beaten in controversial circumstances. In April 2010 the FFA gave Wellington Phoenix a five year extension on their license and kept the footballing spark alive in the country for a while.

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Berisha bounces back

During the 2013/14 season the A-League’s most controversial and prolific striker Bersart Berisha overcame a rocky start to the season to help propel Brisbane Roar to a grand final victory. An injured hamstring and a hip injury four weeks later was followed by Berisha copping his first red card and A-League suspension. Love him or hate him, he scored against Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers to book Brisbane a spot in the grand final and despite all his missing appearances came in at second-top scorer of the A-League that season with 13 goals.

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Cahill’s Return

“I wasn’t supposed to do well in the A-League either because I’m too old and I’m 37,” said the Socceroos most accomplished player. While he was certainly past his best upon his return to domestic football Cahill proved there was still life in the old dog yet. Few can forget when he made his debut against Melbourne Victory in spectacular fashion with a 35 metre volley to open the scoring. In typical Cahill fashion he also put away a header to help Melbourne City to the club’s first piece of silverware in the FFA Cup Final. He didn’t always make a big impression on the field but his presence in the A-League can be looked back on fondly.

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Bachelor of Journalism student from the University of Wollongong, covering Western Sydney Wanderers for the 2017/18 season.