Although the Melbourne Knights FC did not have the best of years on the pitch as a unit, the Football Federation Victoria Gold Medal Night indicated otherwise with the Knights in the thick of the action for the most coveted individual awards.
First it was the Knights’ memorable away win against Bentleigh which won Anita Milas, a freelance photographer, the Les Shorrock Best Football Image after she took an emotion charged photo of the Knights team moments after Tomislav Skara opened the scoring in the crucial relegation battle.
The men’s top awards were shared by Victorian soccer powerhouses the Melbourne Knights and South Melbourne, sharing the U21 Player of the Year award, Bill Fleming Medal, Goalkeeper of the Year award and the much coveted VPL Gold Medal.
Knights import and former England U19 international Kevin Townson took out the Bill Fleming Victorian Media Player of the Year award, joining Essendon Croatia star Tommy Cumming as the second Knights player to have won the prestigious accolade.
Up and coming Knights winger Adrian Zahra was stunned to have won the Victorian Premier League U21 Player of the Year (similar to the old Sam Papasavas Medal from the NSL) to the delight of the Knights which as a club have always prides themselves on blooding young talent through the production line.
Townson was once again in the thick of things when in Round 20 he was atop of the Gold Medal Votes tally with 18 votes, 3 ahead of Fernando de Moraes of South Melbourne. It was not to be however, as Townson had been suspended through the year meaning he was ineligible to win the award regardless. De Moraes polled 1 vote in his second last game for the year against Oakleigh and all three votes against George Cross to finish one ahead of Townson with 19.
Recently crowned U21 player of the year Adrian Zahra came in third place overall of the eligible players in the VPL Gold Medal, 1 vote behind second placed Matthew Theodore and 5 behind first placed De Moraes, an excellent acheivement for the up and coming attacker.
Recently retired Knights champion, Danny Tiatto, was the special guest on the night, speaking about his amazing professional football career that has spanned nearly 20 years.
VPL Gold Medal Tally
Fernando De Moraes – South Melbourne FC – 19 votes
*Kevin Townson, – Melbourne Knights – 18 votes
*Yanni Galanos – Heidelberg United – 18 votes
*Richard Cardozo – Hume City – 15 votes
Mathew Theodore – Altona Magic – 15 votes
*Jeffrey Fleming – Green Gully Cavaliers – 14 votes
Adrian Zahra – Melbourne Knights – 14 votes
*Craig Elvin – Heidelberg United – 14 votes
*Trent Rixon – Northcote City – 14 votes
Jerry Karpeh – Oakleigh Cannons 13 votes
*Fidell Richards – Sunshine George Cross – 13 votes
*Ineligible due to suspension