Kicking off on Monday, 14 December and taking place online, the 2020 Football in Queensland Awards Week is an opportunity to acknowledge the achievements and accomplishments of Queensland players, coaches, referees, clubs and volunteers.
All award winners will be published right here as they are announced and recognised through Football Queensland’s social media channels as part of the week-long celebration.
Congratulations to the worthy recipients!
Service to Football Award
Winners: Bryan Graff & Cecil Newman
Bryan and Cec have dedicated over 20 years each to maintaining the fields at Norbridge Park in Rockhampton. Both gentlemen ensure the park is cared for and maintained. As only some of the fields are irrigated, they spend a lot of their week hauling large hoses around as well as general maintenance and line marking. They have always been a pleasure to work with and have always been accommodating of any field setup changes. This was especially evident this year with changes required due to COVID-19 restrictions and the river rising over a field earlier in the year. Cec is in his 80s and Bryan turned 90 in November. Bryan retired earlier this year after ensuring the fields were ready for the return to play following the hiatus. Both men are gentlemen of the game who have always “done it for the kids.”
Community Club(s) of the Year
Winners: Kingscliff FC & Rockville Rovers FC
Kingscliff FC have been a cornerstone of the southern region of the Gold Coast and integral members of the Gold Coast football community for many years. The club has long endeavoured to achieve their targets and, with strong board governance and sustainability behind them, have been able to focus on ensuring that all teams have qualified coaches and a facility to match. The club opened their new clubhouse towards the end of the 2020 season, which was capped off with promotion into the top tier of the Gold Coast senior men’s competition. Kingscliff were also awarded the Club Championship, indicating the overall success of all teams, and have worked tirelessly on their women’s program to ensure there are strong foundations in place for female players, who enjoyed success in several divisions in 2020.
Rockville Rovers, based in South West Queensland, claimed their own region’s Club Championship crown this season after performing brilliantly from U6s right up to the Premier Men and Women. All four senior teams reached the Finals Series but Rockville’s real success was not just related to results. Embracing multiculturalism, their four Men’s teams are at least 50% made up of African and Iranian players. In conjunction with USQ FC, they hosted a ‘Say No To Racism’ day in February. Rockville are a family-oriented club with a strong committee, including several people who fill several positions and have been with the club for many years. Rockville can also be proud of their online presence, having successfully utilised social media, their new website and an online shop to keep members engaged during the COVID-19 hiatus.
Volunteer of the Year Award
Winner: Zohal Shahalami
Zohal has contributed a significant amount of time and energy in providing a safe and welcoming place for women and girls to come together and unite through football. She was inspired to make a difference to the lives of others because of her own experiences. Zohal immigrated to Australia with her family in 2013 and felt alone, left out and didn’t feel a sense of belonging. This made her determined to be an agent of change. There were many cultural barriers to playing sport in Afghanistan but Zohal embraced the changes here in Australia and has started a women and girls football team at Bethania Rams, which began with six girls and now exceeds 20 players on a regular basis.
Community Team of the Year – Juniors & Seniors
The South Toowoomba Hawks Hammers have been the pride of their club for many years due to the young men and women that have played in the team over the last 12 years, with one core group having played together for the last six years and committed to the club for the last 10 years.
The Hammers have long been a very successful team in the Toowoomba Football Leagues’ junior setup and won the Grand Final in 2020 after going undefeated the entire season.
In addition to their on-field success, the Hammers have produced many regional representatives, six SWQ Tunder players and four junior referees, and are renowned for giving up their time to volunteer or pass on skills through the coaching of younger age groups.
This may be the final year in Toowoomba for many young players involved with the Hammers, but the club wishes them the very best for their future endeavours and reflects proudly on the lifelong friendships and life skills that have been forged within this strong team setting.
Stanthorpe United’s entry into the Toowoomba Football Leagues following the cancellation of their local season provided a welcome lift to the entire TFL Premier Men’s competition in 2020.
After a challenging start in new surrounds, the team soon proved to be extremely competitive and capable of securing exceptional results.
They won 10 out of 15 matches during the regular season, overcoming injuries, fatigue and a relative lack of inexperience to finish second behind Willowburn.
The two teams ultimately met in the Grand Final and, though Willowburn prevailed on penalties after a thrilling 2-2 draw, Stanthorpe’s initiative and resolve to pursue a place in the TFL provided a great example to other clubs in South West Queensland and delivered whole new opportunities for players in the Stanthorpe area.
Community Coach of the Year – Men’s & Women’s
Ross continued in his role as Head Coach of Kingscliff FC this year as he retained the current record for the longest active streak for a coach in Gold Coast’s senior competitions. Having fought tirelessly for seven years to earn promotion, Ross finally achieved the double in 2020 and earned the club a long-coveted place in the Premier League. Come 2021, the club will be competing as Kingscliff FC at the top level for the first time in over 25 years. Not only does Ross coach his senior team, he is also heavily involved in developing the juniors and providing opportunities for them to progress. He has guided numerous players through the ranks from a young age and, under his watch, eased their transition into senior football.
Kelly is a selfless member of the football community who continuously goes above and beyond to provide opportunities to others. She dedicates countless hours per week to coaching and is also committed to her own professional development, having recently complete the final assessment for her C Licence. Kelly played a big part in Virginia United’s successful application for an NPL Women’s licence and is often the key driver of events at the club, including the huge celebration hosted in March of this year as part of Female Football Week and International Women’s Day. More than 200 people attended across the day, which concluded with many staying to watch the first round of the Brisbane Women’s Premier League.
Tom Dickson Athlete With a Disability Award
Josh has been a valued member of Football Queensland’s AWD Futsal team over the past few years, competing at the FFA Futsal National Championships on multiple occasions. He was selected to represent Australia in AWD Futsal at the INAS World Games in Brisbane in October 2019. This is the world’s largest sporting event for elite athletes with intellectual impairment, with around 1,000 competitors taking part in 2019. This year, with the Futsal National Championships on hold, Josh has been helping out with coaching at Richlands club Lions FC.
Deiter Klose Community Referee of the Year
Lachlan made the extraordinary effort to complete a five-hour round trip to officiate in the Toowoomba Football Leagues each week after COVID-19 forced the early conclusion of his local competition in South Burnett. Lachlan, who is equally as strong on the line as he is in the middle, grasped the opportunity presented to him with both hands. Though unfamiliar with the competition, he overcame a daunting task and shone through the entire experience – ultimately being selected by Football Queensland to become an inaugural member of the FQ Referee Academy. In recognition of his outstanding season, he was also chosen as the centre referee for the Championship Ladies Grand Final and handled it with maturity beyond his years.
Player of the Year – NPL Men’s, NPL Women’s & FQPL
Description: This award is determined based on a combination of 3-2-1 match votes, Team of the Season votes, plus any other reasonable justification as determined by Football Queensland, such as disciplinary record or overall team performance.
Winner: Daniel Leck
The 2020 Young Player of the Year also takes out the NPL Men’s top individual honour. Leck’s 16 goals and seven Team of the Week appearances illustrate the level of consistent excellence he maintained from the start of the season to the end. Leck proved in 2020 that he can play in attack or midfield and shine even when surrounded by other stars in similar positions. He earned eight Team of the Season nominations and, at 21, can still improve.
Winner: Mariel Hecher
Always an entertainer, Hecher increased her influence and output in 2020 to lead Lions FC to Grand Final glory. The attacker won the Golden Boot and finished an outstanding NPL Women’s campaign with 22 goals in total, including one in the Grand Final. All 10 opposition Head Coaches voted Hecher into their respective Teams of the Season, while Brisbane Roar handed her a contract for the upcoming Westfield W-League season.
Winner: Matthew Green
Formerly a Logan Lightning junior, Green returned to his roots when he rejoined the club following a spell with NPL Victoria club Oakleigh Cannons. The tough and versatile centre-back wasted no time in displaying all the quality that previously earned him a spot at Sydney FC as he ably marshalled the FQPL’s finest defence. His seven Team of the Week appearances outstripped all other players and were integral to Logan’s promotion success.
Team of the Season – NPL Men’s, NPL Women’s & FQPL
Aidan Munford (GCU), Hayden McHenery (PEN), Cameron Crestani (PEN), Corey Sewell (OLY), Daniel Leck (OLY), Sam Roper (PEN), Mitch Nichols (GCK), Steve Whyte (OLY), Jheison Macuace (GCK), Joe Duckworth (LIO) and Henry Hore (LIO).
Subs: Joshua Langdon (GCK), Ajdin Fetahagic (OLY), Mitch Hore (LIO), Jez Lofthouse (OLY), Tasuku Sekiya (OLY)
Georgina Worth (CAP), Harkana Dixon (EAS), Eloise Fryer (GCU), Momo Hayashi (GCU), Billie Murphy (CAP), Laini Freier (GAP), Ayesha Norrie (GCU), Stephanie Latham (CAP), Kijah Stephenson (QAS), Rosie Sutton (EAS), and Mariel Hecher (LIO).
Subs: Cassandra Zaffina (GCU), Arina Tokunaga (EAS), Leah Davidson (LIO), Rie Kitano (GCU), Amy Gunston (LIO)
Zayne Freiberg (IPK), Russell Parker (WOL), Matthew Green (LOG), Mirko Crociati (SWQ), Matthew Boyd (RDR), Veco Serugo (SWQ), Pasquale De Vita (SWQ), James Coutts (LOG), Max Mikkola (WOL), Brodie Welch (SWQ) and Ugo Moneke (LOG).
Subs: Jake Clancy (MIT), Wade Hall (SWQ), Conor Smith (LOG), Adam Edgar (LOG), Yuta Hirayama (WES)
Des Miles Medal – Junior Referee of the Year
Winner: Louise Merritt
Louise’s terrific season has been highlighted by her selection to the inaugural FQ Referee Academy and being named Female Referee of the Year on the Sunshine Coast. She has been heavily involved in NPL Juniors and as an assistant referee in the NPL Women’s and U18 & U20 competitions. Aged 18, she has already officiated high-level senior matches in her local zone. Her positive attitude and commitment have been exemplary and are accompanied by a great skillset.
Mark Shield Medal – Senior Referee of the Year
Winner: Zac Keenan
Zac has had a highly impressive season, with appointments to the NPL Men’s Semi Final between Olympic FC and Gold Coast Knights, as well as the Queensland v New South Wales clash at Perry Park during the Kappa Festival of Football, both owing to his excellent performances throughout the year. His player management, excellent teamwork and calm demeanor on the field are well renowned. Zac has produced consistently great displays of refereeing to earn this award.
Jacqueline Leleu Medal – Assistant Referee of the Year
Winner: Joseph Lee
Joey has been a standout assistant referee for several years. He was an assistant on the FQPL Grand Final in 2019 and backed that up in the NPL Men’s Grand Final in 2020. He has been applauded by his fellow referees for his excellent teamwork and communication as well as his ability to make strong decisions in difficult games and high pressure situations.
Mick Novakovic Medal | Emerging Elite Referee
Winner: Bradley Drummond
Brad is in his third season as a Football Queensland referee and has quickly displayed his quality, being selected as the referee for the NPL Women’s Grand Final in 2020, his first season refereeing this level of competition. He has achieved this while also completing his Honours at University. Brad’s dedication and determination has been evident in his outstanding career so far, receiving two awards for his local zone – one in his first season and another this season.
Mick Novakovic Medal | In Support of Young Referees
Winner: Adrian O’Connor
Adrian is a dedicated and enduring figure in the development of young referees. He has been an assessor and instructor for a number of years and has been involved in starting both school and club referee development programs. He is always willing to give his time to referees who ask for feedback and encouragement. Adrian has helped develop and nurture a number of previous referee award winners and some of the young talented referees who have formed part of our inaugural referee academy. His generous spirit and willingness to promote the growth and development of referees is admirable and well worth acknowledgement.
Young Player of the Year – NPL Men’s, NPL Women’s & FQPL
This award is for the player aged 21 or younger (at the conclusion of the regular season) who polls the highest number of votes in the Player of the Year voting.
Winner: Daniel Leck
Lured back to Queensland following a spell in Victoria, Leck brought a new dimension to Ben Cahn’s Olympic FC side in 2020. Regarded as a winger during his time with Brisbane Roar, Leck flourished in a more central role at Goodwin Park where he was given a licence to attack from deeper areas. He finished the campaign with 16 goals and picked up eight Team of the Season nominations to go with seven Team of the Week appearances.
Winner: Laini Freier
Nominated for this award 12 months ago, Freier stepped right into the spotlight in 2020 as her game went to another level. The midfielder was simply one of the NPL Women’s top players – she struck 19 goals in all, making her the joint-second top scorer behind Golden Boot winner Mariel Hecher. Five Team of the Week appearances and seven Team of the Season nominations illustrate the respect for her that extends across the competition.
Winner: Maximilian Mikkola
A skilful left-footed winger who is capable of the spectacular, Mikkola proved he can score from just about anywhere as he racked up 12 goals for Wolves FC this season. His haul included seven in his final eight games and two against Logan Lightning, the best side in the competition. Mikkola’s electrifying performances earned him five Team of the Week appearances and seven Team of the Season nominations.
Coach of the Year Awards – NPL Men’s, NPL Women’s & FQPL
Winner: Ben Cahn
Considered one of the country’s brightest coaching talents, Cahn took charge of Olympic FC for a third season in 2020 and again guided the Goodwin Park club to the Grand Final. His team compiled the NPL Men’s best defensive record, conceding just 21 goals in 24 regular season games while playing a possession-focused, attractive brand of football.
Winner: Alex Bundalo
Taking up the top job at Gold Coast United this season, Bundalo quickly succeeded in crafting an extremely strong side which neatly blended star power with a strong work-ethic and winning attitude. United claimed the NPL Women’s Premiership for the first time under Bundalo’s stewardship, securing 17 victories from 20 games, drawing once and losing just twice.
Winner: Rick Coghlan
Coghlan returned to Queensland in 2020 with a strong reputation to build on after enjoying individual and team success in Tasmania. Taking over at Logan Lightning, he certainly lived up to expectations. Logan won 15 out of 20 matches and conceded less than a goal a game to pip SWQ Thunder to the title, then made it a double with a thrilling Grand Final triumph.
Goalkeeper of the Year Awards – NPL Men’s, NPL Women’s & FQPL
This award is for the goalkeeper who polls the highest number of votes in the Player of the Year voting.
Winner: Aidan Munford
In his first season with the club, former Central Coast Mariners man Munford proved a highly skilled, reliable and ever-present figure between the posts for Gold Coast United. The New Zealand Under-23s squad member recorded three Team of the Week appearances and gained four Team of the Season nominations from Head Coaches across the competition.
Winner: Georgina Worth
Back with Brisbane Roar for the upcoming Westfield W-League season, the talented Worth displayed all the ability that has taken her to the top tier during an excellent NPL Women’s campaign with Capalaba FC. She managed three clean sheets, two Team of the Week appearances and three Team of the Season nominations as the Bulldogs reached the Semi Finals.
Winner: Zayne Freiberg
Only three FQPL clubs conceded fewer goals than Ipswich Knights in 2020 despite the club finishing in sixth place. Much of that strong defensive record was down to Freiberg, who picked up an equal-best three Team of the Week appearances in recognition of his form. The goalkeeper’s performances were made more impressive by the fact he had to overcome injury issues.
Golden Boot Award – NPL Men’s, NPL Women’s & FQPL
This award is given to the player that scores the most goals during the regular season.
Winner: Joe Duckworth
Joe Duckworth is the Golden Boot winner for the 2020 NPL Men’s season. The Lions FC striker led the way with 18 goals over the course of 24 regular season rounds, before netting once more during the Finals Series as Lions claimed Grand Final glory. This is the first time Duckworth has won the NPL Men’s Golden Boot.
Winner: Mariel Hecher
Mariel Hecher is the Golden Boot winner for the 2020 NPL Women’s season. The Lions FC forward topped the count after scoring 20 goals over the course of 20 regular season rounds. Hecher added two more during the Finals Series, including one in the club’s Grand Final triumph. This is the first time she has won the NPL Women’s Golden Boot.
Winner: Yuta Hirayama
Yuta Hirayama is the Golden Boot winner for the 2020 FQPL season. The Western Pride attacker takes out the honour after hitting 16 goals over the course of 20 regular season rounds. In total, he contributed more than one third of Pride’s 42 goals. This is the first time Hirayama has won the FQPL Men’s Golden Boot.
Fair Play Award – NPL Men’s, NPL Women’s & FQPL
This award is given to the club that accumulates the lowest points total related to yellow cards (1 point) and red cards (3 points) received throughout the regular season.
Lions FC are the Fair Play Award winners for the 2020 NPL Men’s season. Lions received 29 yellow cards and two red cards during the regular season, tallying 35 points – the lowest figure in the competition.
Moreton Bay United and SWQ Thunder are the joint Fair Play Award winners for the 2020 NPL Women’s season. Moreton Bay received six yellow cards and zero red cards, while SWQ Thunder received three yellows and one red.
Ipswich Knights are the Fair Play Award winners for the 2020 FQPL season. Ipswich received 22 yellow cards and zero red cards in 20 games, tallying 22 points – the lowest figure in the competition.