Western United featured heavily at the NPL Victoria Gold Medal awards night on Monday, with four winners and a number of other players featuring prominently in Player of the Year voting.
The awards covered the three divisions in NPL Men’s and in NPL Women’s, recognising the outstanding efforts of a host of individuals on and off the pitch.
A couple of Western United stars were in the mix for NPL 3 Player of the Year, as the award came down to an incredibly close finish.
Star midfielder Jordan Lauton made himself a mainstay in Anthony Frost’s senior side and finished equal fourth in the standings, finishing just two votes off the top with a total of 15.
Speedster Sabit Ngor was a fraction behind him on 14 votes after a superb season that saw him finish as United’s top goalscorer, with 11 strikes for the year.
As for the top honour in NPLW, Melissa Taranto finished in fourth place, receiving 17 votes to the winners’ 21.
Despite missing a number of games throughout the season, Emma Robers finished in sixth place, polling 14 votes in an impressive season
Western United goalkeeper Alyssa Dall’Oste claimed the NPLW Goalkeeper of the Year award for the second time in her young career after an outstanding season with Calder United.
Dall’Oste was particularly important when her team needed her most. The No.1 played two of her best games of the season against Heidelberg United, saving a penalty and making a number of crucial stops across two victories that were ultimately vital in securing the Premiership.
Calder United teammate Alana Cerne, who was Western United’s inaugural Liberty A-League Women signing, scooped the NPLW Media Player of the Year award.
Voted by commentators and journalists that watched each game of the NPLW season, Cerne was recognised for an outstanding breakthrough campaign at senior level where she featured in 20 matches and scored five goals, all of which came from outside the box.
Calder’s No.4 played wherever she was needed by Mark Torcaso, be it at either full-back position, centre-back or anywhere in midfield and played a vital role in each spot on the pitch.
After guiding FV Emerging to the NPLW Victoria finals for the first time in the program’s history, Western United A-League Women Assistant Coach Helen Winterburn was awarded the NPLW Coach of the Year.
Taking charge of FV Emerging in her first full season, Winterburn saw her side put in a remarkable regular season in which they beat each of the top three sides and very nearly jumped Bulleen Lions into third place, but ultimately fell to Calder 1-0 in a tight semi final.
Continuing Western United’s presence among the winners in the NPLW categories, A-League Women signing Francesca Iermano claimed the Goal of the Year for her stunning strike for South Melbourne against Bayside United.
Picking up the ball just outside the box on the right wing in their Round 16 clash, Iermano cut inside onto her left foot and unleashed an unstoppable drive into the top left corner.
Calder will now look ahead to the NPLW Victoria Grand Final against Bulleen Lions, while Western United will continue to celebrate its Academy success ahead of its debut in NPL 2 next season.