New Zealand international winger Kosta Barbarouses has taken out Wellington Phoenix’s Player of the Year accolade at the club’s end of season awards night.
In his first season at the club since his move from Melbourne Victory, a string of fine performances late in the season saw Barbarouses edge out Glen Moss, Roy Krishna and Marco Rossi for the award.
The event was held at Westpac Stadium on Tuesday night with Phoenix players, staff, volunteers, sponsors and fans in attendance to celebrate the highs and lows of the club’s 2016/17 Season.
Young defender Jacob Tratt, who has returned to be with his family in Dubbo, was voted the Revera Member’s U23 Player of the Year.
Krishna was duly rewarded for his sterling season, picking up the Adidas Golden Boot award as well as the Players’ Player of the Year award.
The Fijian’s 12 goals saw him join Shane Smeltz, Paul Ifill, Jeremy Brockie and Nathan Burns as the only Phoenix players to hit a dozen goals in a season.
But it was the accolade bestowed upon him by his fellow players that moved Krishna, who edged out Vince Lia and Rossi in second and third respectively.
Foundation player Lia scooped two awards as well – his wonder strike in Round 10 against the Central Coast Mariners in Hamilton was voted as the Apollo Goal of the Year, ahead of efforts from Tom Doyle, Krishna and Barbarouses.
The Phoenix vice-captain was also honoured for ten years’ service to the club – a recognition he shared with long-serving kitman and media manager Russell Gray.
Coaches Des Buckingham and Chris Greenacre were thanked by General Manager David Dome for their efforts in turning around a then foundering season after the shock resignation of Ernie Merrick.
A very special moment was the commemoration of the decade-long efforts of John Serepisos and Jason Pine.
Serepisos has been an unswervingly loyal supporter of the club, working as a graphic designer from the very beginning, and the man responsible for the distinctive Wellington Phoenix crest.
Pine may be better known as a matchday commentator and football journalist but his unstinting professionalism and support in many ways, such as MCing events such as Vince Lia’s Testimonial Dinner earlier in the season, have contributed incrementally to the rising profile of football in New Zealand.