Rock of the Year 2017
This award goes to the best defender in the K-League Classic for the 2017 season.
Winner – Matt Jurman –
The Sydney FC stalwart arrived among a flurry of signings from the A-League as it felt as if every club in the land was looking to Australia to fill their ‘Asian player’ slot. It’s safe to say that not all of them were to set the heather alight quite like Matt. That this was the first time that he had ventured outside of his native league to ply his trade makes his debut season all the more impressive.
His debut was against the giants of Evergrande in the Asian Champions League Group Stages, talk about a baptism of fire, with the Bluewings twice surrendering the lead in a 2-2 draw. He started his K-League career solidly enough without really standing out yet as the backbone of the team … fast forward to April 22nd though and two goals against Gangwon would announce him to the Bluewings fans and the league alike. He soon grew into a commanding figure at the back and made 25 appearances in his debut season, becoming one of the first names on the team sheet. It would have been the first but rumor has it that Jonathan used to write his own name on the sheet with an official ‘Jonathan selfie’ adorned permanent marker every Friday!!
He would go on to earn cult status with the Bluewings fans not just for his leader-like performances at the back but also for a now infamous “gesture” he made during a match against Jeonbuk Hyundai. With Suwon leading 1-0 at home going into the final minutes, Lee Dong Gook won a rather “soft” penalty for the visitors. As Lee was preparing to take the spot-kick himself, Jurman made a “rubbing money” gesture towards him in reference to a bribery scandal the previous year. The gesture earned him a 2-game ban, a 2M Won fine….and of course the respect of every other set of fans in the country.
His strong performances domestically wouldn’t go unnoticed and he was called up to the Australian National team and made his international debut on Oct 5th against Syria. He has since made four appearances for his country and definitely looks to have cemented his place at the heart of defence both domestically and internationally ….making him a worthy winner of our Rock of the Year 2017.