Brisbane Roar coach John Aloisi has called on referees to protect Frenchman Eric Bautheac who was “knocked to pillar and post” in their 3-1 victory over Melbourne City where he scored his first goal before being substituted after 65 minutes. But is the Frenchman the only player who needs protection? Or are there other players who attract more attention from opposition defences? Here are the top five most fouled players after seven rounds.
Melbourne City’s Bruce Kamau was one of the best players in the opening round of the competition scoring twice and forcing the own goal that gave his side a win over rivals Melbourne Victory. His form has dipped a bit since but he is still one of the most fouled players in the league with 16. The 22-year-old is quick with or without the ball at his feet and he has ran at defences with the ball 10 times. His pace often leaves defenders no choice but to foul the former Adelaide United winger.
Fahid Ben Khalfallah
If Aloisi thinks Bautheac needs protection from the referees he better take a look at this. The man that helped bring him to the club, fellow recruit Fahid Ben Khalfallah has been fouled 17 times already this season. This should come as no surprise as the dangerous Khalfallah has been facing this treatment since debuting with Melbourne Victory in 2014. Similarly to the man he replaced at the club, the French-born Tunisian international is too classy on the ball for some defenders.
Other than assisting Roy O’Donovan in scoring a goal a few weeks back, Wellington Phoenix recruit Goran Paracki has been a bright light in what hasn’t been the best start to the season. The Croatian midfielder has added a touch of class not only to the club but to the league and has been fouled 18 times putting him on the same bar with a certain Johnny Warren Medallist.
Milos Ninkovic didn’t win the Johnny Warren Medal last season for nothing. His silky touch, his ability to get himself out of trouble, to find a seemingly improbable pass and let’s not forget his nine goals. But let’s focus on his touches and dribbling. The Serbian attacker has won 18 fouls this season proving he is still too much for A-League defences.
But he’s not the most fouled player in the league this season. That honour goes to Melbourne Victory’s Dutch import Leroy George. The 30-year-old ex-Eredivise player leads the league with 22 fouls won. It’s no wonder he attracts fouls, he also leads the league with crosses (75) and chances created (22). While his team haven’t been performing at the level they’re capable of, George has certainly started strongest.