Tom Youngs – Myrtleford (striker/attacking midfielder)
The English speedster has been a class above in his debut season in the competition.
A broken arm in the first derby clash against arch rivals Wangaratta only temporarily stopped him in his tracks.
Since returning from injury, Youngs has been the most influential player in the competition and shouldn’t be ruled out of Star Player contention.
His ability to break into space and finish in front of goal sets him apart from most strikers in the competition and he’ll no doubt cause more headaches in the cup finals.
Myrtleford meets Cobram in a rematch of last year’s cup final in the quarter-finals on Sunday.
Stoycho Ivanov – Wangaratta (centre back/centre forward)
The big Bulgarian’s status in the league keeps rising, when he doesn’t play, Wangaratta can look vulnerable.
Ivanov is an intimidating presence on the pitch and uses his extensive passing range and surprising athleticism to thrust Wangaratta into attack.
Ivanov is a also a real danger from set pieces with both his size and shooting ability.
The big question is, will he play? And if so, where?
Wangaratta clashes with Albury United in their first final on Sunday.
Dustin Patten – Boomers FC (centre back)
Patten is the premier central defender in the AWFA.
He is close to unbeatable in the air and strong in the challenge.
As Boomers’ style has developed, Patten has become more of a ball player than in previous years.
His cross field switches to star man Pieter Noordewier have been a highlight and will prove a useful tool come finals.
A real danger from set pieces and can look like a bit of a one-man wall at times in a youthful Boomers back four.
Boomers square off with Albury City on Sunday for a place in the cup semi-finals.
Josh Fluss – Melrose (goalkeeper)
The Melrose custodian was immense in the first half of the season.
However, a back injury curtailed his second half and relegated him to playing forward in the reserves.
One of the great surprises of the league that he has never won a Star Goalkeeper award and is more than capable of winning games of his own back.
If Fluss can produce in the big games, the Waters, Kade and Trent Rixon combination will be able to put real heat on opposition teams.
Expect the veteran to be firing in the last few weeks of the season.
Melrose meets Twin City in the opening week of the cup finals on Sunday.
Tyler Curran – Twin City Wanderers (centre back)
The English import has been Twin City’s ‘Mr fix it’ this season.
Curran has been a rock in defence, he takes corners and free kicks, knocks in penalties and even creeps forward to score goals.
His communication on the pitch is arguably his most important trait as he keeps the side focused on the task at hand.
Twin City missed last year’s cup finals and will be desperate to make an impact in 2018, starting with Melrose in the quarter-final on Sunday.
Thorne Maw – Albury City (midfielder)
One of the young brigade at Albury City, Maw has had a breakout season at senior level in 2018.
The 16-year-old was third in the senior men’s Star Player after 15 rounds.
Maw has the ability to play a holding role and limit the opposition’s attacking threats, but he can also get forward and hurt teams on the counter.
Can he take City to victory against Boomers in Sunday’s quarter-final?
Caleb Martin – Albury United (midfielder)
The general of the Albury United side will be their most important player in the finals.
Martin has battled injury in the latter part of the season and there’s still some doubt over his fitness heading into another finals campaign this weekend.
The Greens’ skipper had the lead in the Star Player, but is ineligible due to an accumulation of five yellow cards which saw him suspended for one match.
Martin also led AWFA’s goal-scoring during the year.
Wangaratta awaits United in the quarter-finals.
Bill Puckett – Cobram Roar (striker/centre midfielder)
An injury-riddled year for the Cobram Roar star, no doubt yearning for his compatriots in Adam Gatcum and Billy Marshall.
Has been forced to go back to his roots and play deeper this year due to injury and loss of key players, which has hurt his goal-scoring tally.
One of the leagues marquee men when fit, but will need to play out of his skin against Myrtleford.
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