It was that time of year, when the best in the Hyundai A-League are honoured with their actions and given one of seven awards- Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year, Goal of the Year, Team of the Year, Manager of the Year, Golden Boot and Goalkeeper of the Year. Let’s get started with the first award.
Goal of the Year
The winner of the best goal in the regular season was won by Sydney FC’s Milos Dimitrijevic. The award-winning goal was the first of his brace against the Wellington Phoenix on the 22nd of December. He struck the ball from outside the box and Glen Moss watched helplessly as it flew into the top left corner of the net. A top notch goal deserved of the award.
Young Player of the Year
Awarded to the best Australian player under 21 for the season, the Newcastle Jets had a lot of eligible choices and the eventual winner was their right winger Andrew Hoole. Hoole had a breakout season, playing every single match. He began the season at right back, but found incredible form at right wing where at one stage he was the in-form player of the competition. He ended up kicking 3 goals and assisting 8, whilst also picking up 4 PoM awards to collect YPOTY.
Goalkeeper of the Year
In a tight race between Eugene Galekovic and Mark Birighitti, Galekovic eventually came out on top on won the Golden Glove trophy. Galekovic had a fine year for Adelaide United, recording 11 clean sheets and having an average rating of 7.01, ranked 1 in the league for goalkeepers. Although he conceded far more than Birighitti, his general goalkeeping was far superior and had a much less solid defense.
Manager of the Year
One of the easiest picks on the night, Ernie Merrick walked out with the Manager of the Year award after taking wooden spoon favourites Wellington Phoenix to the premiers plate. Although they were knocked out of the finals, the Phoenix will be remembered for their dominant performances in the regular season and man behind the helm, Ernie Merrick, is definitely a huge factor.
This years winner of the Golden Boot award for most goals scored when to charismatic Belgian striker Stein Huseygems, who kicked 18 goals for the league winners Wellington Phoenix to take out the award by 2 goals over the Mariners’ Matt Simon. Huseygems was in lethal form all season, and seemed to score more often than not.
The team of the season was announced, with some surprise selections and omissions. Eugene Galekovic was made goalkeeper in a popular move, and the back 4 of Cassio, Bosnar, Wielaert and Boxall is a good choice. Nick Kalmar was a surprise pick at DM, whilst Flores and Hernandez would make a good pair in central midfield. Nick Carle was picked over teammate Alessandro Del Piero in a shocking decision, but Huseygems and Garcia were worthy picks. Ruben Zadkovich will be considered unlucky to have missed out at either right back or central midfield, whilst Fabio Ferreira was a very strong candidate on both wings.
The final and most prestigious award of the night was saved for last, with multiple players vying for the Johnny Warren Medal for player of the season. Let’s have a look at the 5 nominees.
The sole defender on the list, Boxall was the heart and soul of the Phoenix defence which did so well over the course of the season. His play was very good and he regularly blotted out the oppposition’s best strikers.
Somewhat of a revelation at Adelaide United, the Portuguese winger emerged from being a fringe player and had an extremely productive season on both wings.
An A-League legend now, Hernandez wowed the country with his flair and playmaking excellence. His stats were phenomenal, with elite passing rates, 13 goals and 9 assists, and his partnership with Hernandez was a league winner.
A goalscoring machine, his partnership with Carlos Hernandez was the main reason the Phoenix won the league and he is a very strong favourite for the award.
Another striker, he didn’t score as many goals as Huseygems but he definitely was more prominent away from goals for the Mariners, as he assisted Mitch Duke and worked well as a partnership.
So those are the nominees, now to see who is the winner of the Johnny Warren Medal.
The Costa Rican attacking midfielder was a shining light in the supernova that was Wellington Phoenix, and his domination of everything he came across means that he takes out the Johnny Warren Medal with 5 votes out of 10. Trailing in second with 3 votes was Stein Huseygems, whilst Matt Simon and Michael Boxall each received 1 vote each.
So those are the winners of the A-League Awards Night. It’s been a great season, time to get ready for 2014/15! See you then!