Congratulations to all the award winners at the A-League and W-League awards on Monday night.
Is it just us or do others feel that this event should come on the Monday after the Grand Final and not the week before? Yes, other codes of football have their awards in the week leading up to the Grand Final, but does Football always have to follow the other codes? Why can’t it break with tradition at times and lead?
It was great to see Marco Rojas take out the main award. The 21 year old won the Johnny Warren medal by more than double the votes of his nearest rival Alessandro del Piero. This was good news for the A-League.
The Football Media Association – of which this writer is a member – voted for the ageing Italian as their player of the year. Which makes one wonder if they were influenced by the impact del Piero had on the league off the pitch rather than just by his efforts on it; which is the only place that should count with this award. The fact that Rojas defeated del Piero by so much may confirm what many players and coaches, and even some members of the media believe in Australia, that many covering the game actually do not understand it as well as they may like to think.
Here is a radical thought. Del Piero came to Australia having won virtually everything there is to win in football, a reward for having been one of the game’s true greats, but was he seriously the best and most consistent player in the A- League in 2013/14? Was he even the best import? So that people are are not blinded and in awe of the pedigree, the name, and the resumes of the imports that grace the Hyundai A League, should the FFA look at having an award for the best Import?
The sad thing is not even this would work, very few have praised the work of Shinji Ono, who has quietly gone about his business this year. He has performed consistently week in week out and his influence on the Wanderers has been huge, yet few seem to recognise that. Yousouff Hersi was another to shine at Wanderers but who failed to garner much attention; could that be because they were the best team and did not rely heavily on individuals? The other problem in creating such an award is that the attacking players tend to steal the attention. It is very rare that a defender, despite their reliability and efficiency will pick up votes or recognition.
There is no ideal solution, but it was refreshing to see the young and talented Rojas take out the big award.
Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic deservedly took out the coach of the year award, while the Wanderers goalkeeper Ante Covic won keeper of the year; Which with hindsight makes Melbourne Victory’s decision to release him at the end of last season look foolish. Central Coast Mariners’ veteran Daniel McBreen claimed the golden boot, which in its self was a remarkable achievement when you consider when Graham Arnold took over at the Mariners he did not want McBreen. It was only following his loan spell at Perth Glory where he kept finding the back of the net that Arnold was convinced to re-evaluate the striker.
Brisbane Roar’s Clare Polkinghorne won the W-League player of the year award, while now Brisbane Roar coach Mike Mulvey claimed the W-League coach of the year award for laying the foundations at Melbourne Victory at the start of the season that saw them progress to the Grand Final. Victory’s Steph Catley won W-League young player of the year, while Perth Glory’s Katie Gill was the golden boot winner.