MELBOURNE Croatia’s 32-year-old midfield maestro, and skipper, Josip Biskic, won the prestigious Player of the Year Award at the NSL Annual Awards at the Darling Harbour Convention Centre last night.
Biskic, the brains behind Melbourne Croatia’s two successive minor premierships, won the Joe Marston Medal for the best on the ground in last year’s grand final.
That was even though Melbourne Croatia were – as in last week’s grand final against Adelaide City – beaten on penalties for the title by South Melbourne.
Biskic won from other nominees – Damien Mori (Melbourne Croatia), Mehmet Durakovic (South Melbourne), Paul Trimboli (SouthMelbourne) and Tim Bredbury(Sydney Olympic).
In other major awards announced last night:
* Heidelberg’s 18-year-old Kevin Muscac, one of the heroes from the young Socceroos’ efforts in Portugal and destined to be the young Socceroo skipper for the Australian-hosted World Youth Championships next March, won the Under-21 Player of the Year.
The final nominees list was Con Boutsianis (South Melbourne), Paul Agostino(sold to Young Boys Berne for $350,000 during the week, from West Adelaide)and two other young Socceroos, Brad Maloney (Newcastle) and Mark Silic(Melbourne Croatia).
* Socceroo goalkeeper Robert Zabica beat off a top field of challengers -John Filan (Wollongong), Bruce Maclaren (South Melbourne), Gary Meier (Sydney Olympic) and David Miller (Melbourne Croatia) – to win the inaugural Goalkeeper of the Year Award.
* Wollongong’s former Socceroo stalwart, 35-year-old David Ratcliffe, was named as coach of the year.
He beat Miron Bleiberg (Brisbane), Mick Hickman (Sydney Olympic), Zoran Matic (Adelaide City), who was the first coach to win the League/Cup double, and Melbourne Croatia’s Ken Murphy.
* Sydney Croatia’s goal scoring machine and 1993 Young Socceroo Ante Milicic won the Northern Division Youth League Player of the Year while Melbourne Croatia’s Jani Suric took out the Southern Division Youth League Player of the Year.
* Grand final referee, 29-year-old John McConnell, took out the referee of the year award from other final nominees John Fraser (Victoria), Richard Lorenc (NSW), Tom McRoe (South Australia) and Gary Power (NSW).
The Sun Herald