The 2017 National Premier Leagues Queensland Award Winners were unveiled in front of the Suncorp Stadium crowd during the Brisbane Roar Hyundai A-League – Westfield W-League doubleheader on Friday night.
Western Pride’s Harrison Sawyer and Brooke Barbuto of Peninsula Power picked up the major silverware, with the duo winning Most Valuable Player honours for NPL QLD and NPL Women’s QLD.
The MVP Award is voted on by match referees in a 3-2-1 fashion, with Sawyer (18 votes, including full votes in five matches) and Barbuto (34 votes, full votes on 10 occasions) both rewarded for a series of incredible performances.
Sawyer’s stat line in 2017 was insane – seven matches, 15 goals, four hat-tricks. His impact propelled Pride into the top four and secured him a contract in the Philippines, before Pride went on to win their maiden Championship.
Barbuto’s season was no less impressive, as the American hit the back of the net 28 times in 20 matches to lead Power to the Premiership-Championship double, also securing the Golden Boot in the process.
Sam Smith of Gold Coast City joined Barbuto as a Golden Boot winner, the big front man finshing with 22 goals from as many matches.
Smith’s goalscoring excellence is highlighted by the fact that he finished five goals clear of his nearest challengers. Dylan Wenzel-Halls (Western Pride) and Riley Campbell (Moreton Bay United) tied for second with 17 regular season goals each.
The Coach of the Year Award went to the two Premiership-winning bosses, as Sean Lane of Brisbane Strikers and Peninsula Power’s Michael Cook received recognition for leading their teams to first place after the regular season.
Cook’s Power team was a juggernaut on their way to the Premiership-Championship double, going undefeated and scoring 106 goals in 18 matches.
Lane engineered a comeback title win for his Strikers side, who stormed home to win the Premiership despite trailing Gold Coast City until the penultimate round.
The Safe Hands Award is given to the goalkeeper with the most clean sheets, and Brisbane Strikers’ Zac Speedy and Souths United’s Chloe Cole were both worthy winners.
Speedy kept eight clean sheets as Strikers stormed to the Premiership, while Cole kept her opponents off the scoresheet 12 times, an amazing achievement that helped her Souths team secure third spot.
Nathan Yoon of Brisbane Roar Youth and Gold Coast City’s Jayde Lowe picked up gongs for Young Player of the Year, awarded to the player 21 years or younger with the most MVP votes.
Yoon missed just one game this season for Roar Youth, and found the back of the net 10 times. Lowe also bagged 10 goals, and her form was impressive enough to secure a move overseas; she is now playing college football in America.
Experienced referee Matthew Skinner won the Des Miles Referee of the Year Award, capping off an outstanding season by taking charge of the NPL QLD Grand Final between Western Pride and Moreton Bay United.