Revealed: The team with the biggest reliance on one player

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We have all thought a particular club would be nowhere without a certain player, but until now we did not have the numbers to back it up.

It’s a huge detriment for a team to have an over-reliance on one player. What if they get injured or suspended? The club would fall apart on the field.

However, it’s still better than having no star player at all and it’s better to be higher than lower on the ladder, regardless of how they get there.

Even so, below we will go through each club’s reliance on their attacking third, measuring both goals scored and goal assists for the opening months of the A-League. For the purpose of this article, we have not measured a team’s goalkeeper or defence on the result of a game.

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Because teams change season to season, we are also only looking at the 2020/21 A-League season to get the most relevant data.

We have run the eye over the major goal scorers and assisters for every team, and then revisited every game up until February 22 to be able to tell you:

  • The most important player for your team, in terms of the points differential if the player was not in the squad
  • How many points your team would have lost, had they not had them in the squad
  • The team with the biggest points or ladder position drop without a the player, and therefore the team with the biggest reliance on one player

Findings

Adelaide United

Most important player: Tomi Juric (four goals)

Currently on the ladder: 7th (10 points)

Without Juric: 9th (seven points)

Brisbane Roar

Most important player: Dylan Wenzel-Halls (five goals)

Currently on the ladder: 2nd (14 points)

Without Wenzel-Halls: 6th (10 points)

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Central Coast Mariners

Most important player: Alou Kuol (six goals)

Currently on the ladder: 1st (18 points)

Without Kuol: 1st (14 points)

Macarthur FC

Most important player: Benat Etxebarria (three assists)

Currently on the ladder: 3rd (14 points)

Without Extebarria: 4th (12 points)

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Melbourne City

Most important player: Jamie Maclaren (three goals)

Currently on the ladder: 10th (six points)

Without Maclaren: 11th (four points)

Melbourne Victory

Most important player: Jake Brimmer (three goals)

Currently on the ladder: 12th (four points)

Without Brimmer: 12th (one point)

Newcastle Jets

Most important player: Valentino Yuel (four goals)

Currently on the ladder: 6th (11 points)

Without Yuel: 9th (seven points)

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Perth Glory

Most important player: Neil Kilkenny (five assists)

Currently on the ladder: 8th (nine points)

Without Kilkenny: 10th (five points)

Sydney FC

Most important player: Kosta Barbarouses (three goals)

Currently on the ladder: 5th (11 points)

Without Barbarouses: 9th (seven points)

Wellington Phoenix

Most important player: Alex Rufer (two assists)

Currently on the ladder: 11th (five points)

Without Rufer: 12th (two points)

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Western Sydney Wanderers

Most important player: Graham Dorrans (two goals)

Currently on the ladder: 4th (13 points)

Without Dorrans: 6th (10 points)

Western United

Most important player: Dylan Pierias (three goals)

Currently on the ladder: 9th (eight points)

Without Pierias: 10th (five points)

Summary

Looking at lt one way, it’s a tie between the Roar, Mariners, Jets, Glory and Sydney. All would have lost four points from the absence of a particular player, and all, except the Mariners, would have dropped numerous ladder positions.  However, we believe we have a winner.

Perth Glory had played five games, of which Neil Kilkenny’s had a direct influence over the result in two, or 40 per cent of games.

Kilkenny already leads the competition in assists from the limited games, and while it is only a small sample size to judge the club on, the trend would dictate Kilkenny having a significant say over the rest of the Glory season. Therefore, we have dubbed Glory the team with the biggest reliance on a single player, Kilkenny.

Feature image credit: Jordan Trombetta

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Seb Mottram
Sports nut studying Media comms and Marketing at Monash.

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