Sweet Smeltz of success

SHANE SMELTZ has capped off a stellar year by being named Wellington Phoenix’s FC’s Sony Player of the Year at the club’s inaugural awards function in Wellington last night.

SHANE SMELTZ has capped off a stellar year by being named Wellington Phoenix-s FC-s Sony Player of the Year at the club-s inaugural awards function in Wellington last night.

So impressive was striker Smeltz-s season that he scooped four of the five awards up for grabs last night. As well as being named Sony Player of the Year, Smeltz was also voted the Players- Player of the Year and the Phoenix-s best by football media throughout New Zealand and Australia. With his nine goals in 19 matches for the club in its debut 2007/08 season in the Hyundai A-League, Smeltz also won the coveted Golden Boot award.

The awards add to his New Zealand Footballer of the Year title, which he won in November last year ahead of English Premier League star Ryan Nelsen and Celtic striker Chris Killen.

Phoenix goalkeeper Glen Moss prevented Smeltz from making a clean sweep of the awards when the super shot-stopper was named Fans- Player of the Year from a poll on the club-s website, www.prod.wellingtonphoenix.aleagues.com.au.

Smeltz, 26, joined the Phoenix fresh from a man-of-the-match performance after scoring both goals for the All Whites in their impressive 2-2 draw with Wales in May last year.

Phoenix and All Whites coach Ricki Herbert said Smeltz and Moss had clearly been the club-s standout players in season one.

“Both had overseas opportunities that hadn-t gone as well as they-d have liked and had the chance to perform with the Phoenix. That-s exactly what they did and from a consistency point of view they were superb throughout the season.”

While Smeltz was knocking in the goals up front, Moss was superlative at the back as he pulled off stunning saves week in, week out.

“Shane proved himself as one of the best strikers in the A-League and winning four out of five of the club awards is proof that his talent and quality is recognised by everyone,” Herbert said.

“He-ll continue to go from strength to strength and will really benefit from our early preparation for the upcoming season. He-s proven his ability to create opportunities and to finish them. We are expecting even better performances from Shane in season two.

“Glen was superb in goal and played more games [20 out of 21 regular season games] than anyone else in the squad. Each and every time he was first-class and regularly made telling contributions at the back.”

Voting in the Sony Player of the Year and Players- Player of the Year categories was close. The night-s supreme award was decided by Herbert and assistant coach Wayne O-Sullivan. At the conclusion of each of the 21 regular season matches, the coaches voted for their three top players on a 3-2-1 basis, making for a possible total of 12 votes per game. The final tally saw Smeltz poll 42 votes, with Moss earning 32 votes.

It was even closer in the Players- Player of the Year award, where Phoenix squad members voted for their outstanding player of the season. Using a 3-2-1 voting system, Phoenix squad members ranked their three best players in each of the season-s 21 games. Again Smeltz polled top with 168 votes but Moss went close to earning the lion-s share of his peers- praise with 164 votes.

SONY Wellington Phoenix FC Awards, Hyundai A-League 2007/08 season

Sony Player of the Year: Shane Smeltz

Players- Player of the Year: Shane Smeltz

Media Player of the Year: Shane Smeltz

Wellingtonphoenix.com Fans- Player of the Year: Glen Moss

Golden Boot: Shane Smeltz