Ninkovic tops Sydney's A-League award dominance
MILOS Ninkovic, the man who has orchestrated Sydney FC's domination of the A-League, has been acclaimed the finest player in the competition.
After playing the leading role in the Sky Blues' all-conquering route to the grand final, Ninkovic was named the 2017 Johnny Warren Medallist, voted as the A-League's most outstanding talent.
With nine goals and 11 assists, Ninkovic beat last year's winner, Perth playmaker Diego Castro, into second place at the Dolan Warren Awards - the A-League and W-League's celebration night.
Ninkovic has already won Fox Sports' Alex Tobin Medal and had been the overwhelming favourite to win the Johnny Warren Medal - a prize determined over the season by the votes of a panel that included former professional players, coaches,
The 32-year-old polled 44 points from the panel, seven ahead of Castro. Nicolás Martínez of Western Sydney Wanderers FC was third on 29 points, while Ninkovic's opponent in Sunday's grand final, James Troisi of Melbourne Victory, got 27 points.
"He's definitely in the top five (players to have featured in the A-League) - he's exceptional," Sydney coach Graham Arnold said of Ninkovic. "He's a player like Castro at Perth that you'd pay money to go and watch. He does things on the pitch that are top European quality.
"Ninko's in a good space at the moment and he's such a fantastic person. He's enjoying life here in Sydney, he loves the club and sees what we do for him to be able to perform at the level he's at."
Ninkovic's recognition headlined a trio of awards for Sydney FC, acknowledgement of their record-breaking season in winning the Premier's Plate by a record number of points and losing just a single game.
Arnold was named coach of the year for his masterminding of Sydney's season, winning the award for the second time - in the process becoming just the second coach after Ernie Merrick to be recognised by his peers twice, and the first to do so with different clubs.
Danny Vukovic was named the A-League's Goalkeeper of the Year, having achieved a record 15 clean sheets in the regular season in his first year at Sydney.
Brisbane's Jamie Maclaren broke Sydney's domination of the annual awards night by being named Young Player of the Year for the second time, ahead of candidates including Sydney's Brandon O'Neill and Josh Brillante. Maclaren also shared the Golden Boot award with Besart Berisha, after the pair tied on 19 goals for the regular season.
Melbourne City's Tim Cahill won goal of the season for his long-distance strike in Round Two against Victory.
In the W-League Awards, Sam Kerr of Perth Glory won the Julie Dolan Medal for best in the competition, and Young Player of the Year went to Remy Siemsen of Sydney FC. Coach of the Year was Perth's Bobby Despotovski - himself formerly a winner of the Johnny Warren Medal in the A-League's first season.
Canberra United's Ashleigh Sykes won the W-League Golden Boot Award thanks to a dozen goals last season.