Premiership’s best moves from bit-part role to performer who mesmerises defences.

New Zealand's national league this season featured a reserve team, a youth team, the Wellington Phoenix's greatest player and the third best club team in the world. But was it a success?

Let's look at the best and the worst of the ASB Premiership - the good, the bad and the ugly.

Best player: Ryan DeVries

Two years ago Ryan DeVries was a bit-part player at Auckland City. He had flashes of brilliance but would too often drift out of games and be inconsistent. This season he came of age. The 23-year-old was consistently one of Auckland's top performers, mesmerising defences with his quick feet, creative eye for a pass and blistering pace.


Auckland's success this year was built on the collective, but DeVries' individual brilliance often provided the much-needed attacking spark.

Most potential: David Browne

Ernie Merrick - we may have another one for you. This twinkle-toed 19-year-old striker looks about 50kg soaking wet, but boy can he play.

His hat-trick against Waitakere in the ASB Premiership semifinal showcased his full range of talent, and he is always the most exciting player on the pitch.

Browne was born in Port Moresby and came to New Zealand on a high school football scholarship four years ago. But he has represented Papua New Guinea at U-17 level, which, unfortunately, makes him ineligible for any potential All Whites call-up.

Worst signing: Paul Ifill

When Paul Ifill signed for Team Wellington in January, they had won five out of seven games and were leading Auckland City by two points on the table. But after the ageing former Phoenix legend got on board, they won only four of their next nine. It would be rash to blame Ifill for Wellington's dip in form, and there were a number of factors that contributed to their semifinal meltdown, but the striker's return of 0 goals from eight starts can't have helped.

Best game

Hawkes Bay had to overturn a 1-2 first-leg home loss to Wellington in the semifinal and they did it with an incredible 4-3 win at Dave Farrington Park. Here's a scoring summary: Wellington in final, Wellington in final, game going to extra time, Wellington in final, Bay in final, Wellington in final, Bay in final!

Best development team

Wellington Phoenix reserves.

Worst development team

Wanderers SC ... and they were both better than the league's southern entrants.

Worst name

WaiBOP United. Sounds like a Hanson song.

Best product

Auckland City's weekly highlights package on YouTube. Always published within a day of the match with expert analysis and commentary from Gordon Glen Watson combined with a slick, multi-camera setup. It's as close to perfection as domestic footy highlights come.

Jekyll and Hyde award

Wellington Phoenix. Beat Auckland City 3-1 in January, then lost 0-7 to them next time around - a 9-goal reversal of fortune.

Best crowd

Around 2000 turned up to watch the Wellington Phoenix beat Auckland City at Kiwitea Street in January.

Worst crowd

A smattering of around 150 turned up to watch Waitakere and Hawkes Bay draw 1-1 in November.

Too good for our amateur league award

Ramon Tribulietx.

Most excitable coach

Brett Angell (Hawkes Bay). He's no angel on the sideline.

Unsung goalscoring hero

Tom Jackson (Southern United) tied with Tyler Boyd for the Golden Boot (after the regular season). Meritoriously, Jackson's effort was for the bottom team, where he scored exactly half his team's season goals. This is the first time the bottom team has boasted a league golden boot winner.