The most notable cult heroes currently playing in the A-League Men

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They may not be the best players, but they certainly keep the A-League Men special. So what makes them so unique?

Rhyan Grant

His hairstyle may often steal the show but don’t get it twisted, Grant is one of the A-League Men’s most consistent players.

The 30-year-old is Sydney FC’s longest-serving player, making his debut in December 2008 and becoming the club’s first 10-year player in 2018. During that time he has played over 215 games for the club and this longevity has earned him a place in A-League Men history.

A winning goal in the 2020 grand final further cemented his cult status among fans, the mullet is simply the icing on top.

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Alessandro Diamanti

Marquee players can often be hit or miss, for every Alessandro Del Piero success story there is also a William Gallas horror show. Although there is no denying that Diamanti has been a hit.

The 2019/2020 Johnny Warren Medal winner helped Western United to a semi-final in his first season with the club. Football Federation Australia’s decision to deny him a move to Melbourne Victory in 2016 looks more and more confusing with each passing game. Diamanti has embraced Australia, even showing his support for Carlton in the AFL on Twitter.

While cult heroes are not always adored for their skill, Diamanti’s performances on the pitch coupled with his personality off it have endeared him to fans in his short time in the league.

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Matt Simon

Simon is the quintessential A-League Men cult hero, displaying the passion and commitment that fans love.

The Mariners all-time leading goal scorer embodies what the league is all about. While he may not be the fastest or most technically gifted player, you certainly can’t question his heart or desire. Over the course of 15 seasons he has played more than 200 games for Sydney FC and the Central Coast Mariners, scoring 66 goals in the process. He led the Mariners to a third-place finish last season, showing he still has it in him at the age of 35.

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Kusini Yengi

Cult heroes do not always have to be heading towards the end of their career, however, and Yengi is the perfect example. He burst onto the scene last season, scoring the equaliser against Melbourne Victory and proceeding to strut his stuff in front of the home fans.

Known for his celebrations, the 22-year-old has brought some much-needed energy to the A-League Men and has a bright future ahead of him. Already a fan favourite at Adelaide United, expect plenty more goals and the celebrations to match in the years to come.

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Liam Reddy

The ultimate journeyman, Reddy has played for seven different clubs in the league during his career. These include the Newcastle Jets, Brisbane Roar, Wellington Phoenix, Sydney FC, Central Coast Mariners, Western Sydney Wanderers and finally Perth Glory.

While this fact alone would be enough for long time A-League Men fans to consider him a cult hero, if you add in his infamous drunken plane incident and the failed goalie run against Melbourne City, there’s no doubting his status. Now in his 40s, Reddy has settled down at the Glory and will be hoping to go out on a high.

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Featured image credit: Glenn Pokorny

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Lachlan Allen
Lachlan is a recent Journalism graduate from Curtin University. He will be covering Perth Glory for the 2021/22 A-league season

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