A number of Western United stars have received awards at the Club’s inaugural WUFC Gala Awards Night on Wednesday in recognition of their contributions to the 2021/22 A-League Men Championship.
Ben Garuccio was the big winner on the night, claiming most prestigious award of the night – the coveted Player of the Season medal, presented by Simonds Homes.
United’s No.17 accrued 83 votes throughout the season, narrowly edging out Connor Pain in second on 82 votes, while Lachie Wales completed the top three with 79 votes.
Garuccio also picked up the Emerald Goal award for the Fan’s Goal of the Season, presented by Werribee & Western Automotive Group.
The left-back had an outstanding campaign with six assists and two goals in 28 appearances, playing a major role in United’s Grand Final success.
“To be standing here is just out of this world for me. I’m so happy to be part of this club,” he said.
“The challenges along the way shape you. Twelve months ago I was probably in the worst place I’ve ever been in my career, but if it wasn’t for this Club, all the support I’ve had since day one I wouldn’t be here.”
“I didn’t expect it – playing in a championship team with so many great players.”
Jerry Skotadis scooped the Young Player of the Season award, presented by Victoria University Polytechnic, after a breakout season in midfield saw him make 17 appearances across regular season and Finals.
The 22-year-old was crucial to United’s success late in the season, starting four of the last five games and playing an important half-hour in the Grand Final.
“It feels very good (to win), especially because during the season I didn’t play much, but at the end I stepped up and did my job,” Skotadis said.
“It’s all about keeping your head up, that opportunity will come and I took it when I did.”
Western United’s No.1 Jamie Young was recognised by the fans for his remarkable season in goal as he won the Forever West Fans’ Player of the Season award, presented by Wyndham City.
Young led all goalkeepers in the league with 10 clean sheets and 95 saves through the regular season and was immense throughout the Finals, earning his first ever A-League Men Championship in his eighth season in the competition.
“It’s always nice to win an award. I could’ve stayed where I was but I felt like I wanted more in my life,” he said.
“This award is not just for me, but also for my partner Abbey – we celebrated the birth of our daughter this year.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed this season, I’ve had the best stats of my career. The Club has done a lot for my family.”
Aleksandar Prijovic was recognised for his lethal season in front of goal with the Golden Boot award, presented by Kappa, after he top scored with nine goals in the regular season and added a further four in the Finals.
Ryan Scott won the Foodbank Victoria Club Person of the Season award for the third season in a row. The award was voted for by all staff at the Club and recognises Scott’s efforts across the board in bringing a positive energy to the Club on and off the pitch.
Membership & Data Coordinator Anthony Kaimenopoulos won the Tasman Logistics Chairman’s Award for Outstanding Contribution for his efforts around the admin office, while Neil Kilkenny won the same award among the playing group for his sacrifices and performances this season.
Finally, Aaron Gal was awarded the Volunteer of the Season, presented by Happsa Group, celebrating his tireless efforts in assisting the Club on matchday.