Western United’s Italian star Alessandro Diamanti’s superb debut A-League season has earned him the Johnny Warren Medal.
The 37-year-old playmaker was the key figure in competition newcomers United’s impressive season.
United fell short of a grand final appearance by just one match, with Diamanti instrumental in his side’s deep run by scoring eight goals and providing seven assists.
He claimed the medal – awarded to the player of the season and voted on by former professional players, technical experts, match officials and media representatives – with 34 points, six more than runner-up and Sydney FC star Milos Ninkovic.
“You can’t disregard Diamanti … you understand what he’s about,” United coach Mark Rudan said of Diamanti last month.
Ninkovic, who won the medal in 2017, was followed by Melbourne City and Socceroos striker Jamie Maclaren, who polled 25 points in a season which also earned him Golden Boot honours.
Fourth place in the medal standings was shared by 2016 winner Diego Castro and Wellington Phoenix’s Mexican sensation Ulises Davila, who each tallied 23 points.
Perth Glory star Castro gave up the chance to poll more votes when he refused to complete the season with the rest of his teammates in the A-League’s NSW hub, missing the Glory’s final matches of the regular season.
Departed Melbourne City mentor Erick Mombaerts was named coach of the year for guiding City to second spot on the ladder and a grand final appearance.
It was last week announced that Frenchman Mombaerts was stepping down and would be replaced by his assistant Patrick Kisnorbo next season.
Adelaide United midfielder Riley McGree – who wants to leave the Reds for an overseas club – was named the young footballer of the year,
McGree won ahead of other monthly nominees Angus Thurgate (Newcastle Jets), Reno Piscopo (Wellington Phoenix), Cameron Devlin (Wellington Phoenix), Nick D’Agostino (Perth Glory), Matthew Millar (Newcastle Jets) and Thomas Glover (Melbourne City).
Sydney FC’s Socceroos gloveman Andrew Redmayne, a key figure in the Sky Blues’ premiership-championship double, won the goalkeeper of the year prize.
Sydney also won the fair play award for having the A-League’s best disciplinary record, and tasted further success when Jake Hollman was named Y-League player of the year.
Goal of the year went to Newcastle defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley for his Round 21 scorcher against Perth Glory.
Chris Beath, who was in control of Sydney’s 1-0 grand final win over Melbourne City, was named referee of the year.
Originally published as Diamanti sparkles with medal