STRIKER Leo Bertos has capped a fantastic Hyundai A-League season by being named Wellington Phoenix’s best at the club’s annual awards function in the capital on Friday night.
STRIKER Leo Bertos has capped a fantastic Hyundai A-League season by being named Wellington Phoenix-s best at the club-s annual awards function in the capital on Friday night.
Bertos, who returned to Wellington to join the Phoenix for their second season in the competition and was instrumental in the club-s fine showing in 2008/09, won the Sony Player of the Year award, as voted by the Phoenix-s football department throughout the season.
After shaking off an early season injury, the 28-year-old quickly proved his tremendous worth to the Phoenix, playing 16 games for the Phoenix in 2008/09 and scoring two goals. It was Bertos- ability to create attacking opportunities that set him apart from his teammates, the hometown hero using his blistering pace and skill to create havoc in opposition defensive lines.
Phoenix coaching staff used a 3-2-1 voting system for each game throughout the season to determine the winner of the Sony Player of the Year award. Bertos was the clear victor, his 23 votes putting him eight ahead of defensive midfielder Jon McKain (15). Skipper Andrew Durante, defender Ben Sigmund and goalkeeper Glen Moss each earned 13 votes to share third place.
Sigmund was named Members- Player of the Year after a stellar season anchoring the Phoenix-s back four. The popular and affable Kiwi was rewarded for a top debut season in the Hyundai A-League after joining the Phoenix from New Zealand Football Championship club Auckland City.
Despite being part of a defensive line chock-full of talent and experience, Sigmund quickly cemented himself as coach Ricki Herbert-s go-to man in the heart of the back four.
Star striker Shane Smeltz scooped the remaining awards, the club-s Golden Boot winner (12 goals from 20 games) named Players- Player of the Year and Media Player of the Year.
Smeltz, Sony Player of the Year in the Phoenix-s debut season in 2007/08, was voted the Phoenix-s best by his fellow players for his performances throughout the season. Key media representatives from throughout New Zealand and Australia also considered Smeltz the Phoenix-s best in 2008/09, with McKain and Sigmund also polling well.
The boon striker adds the Phoenix awards to his considerable haul of titles this season, having won the Johnny Warren Medal as the Hyundai A-League-s best player, the Golden Boot award as the season-s top scorer and the goal of the season award for his wonder-strike against Melbourne at Westpac Stadium in Wellington in round 13.
WELLINGTON PHOENIX AWARDS 2008/09
Sony Player of the Year:
Members- Player of the Year: Ben Sigmund
Players- Player of the Year: Shane Smeltz
Media Player of the Year: Shane Smeltz
Golden Boot: Shane Smeltz (12 goals)