Melbourne City midfielder Neil Kilkenny has been crowned the club’s A-League Player of the Year at their awards evening at the Park Hyatt on Saturday.
Kilkenny, who joined City from English Championship side Preston North End in July last year, was an impressive leader and central pillar in City's midfield, finishing the 2016/17 campaign with unrivalled interceptions and pass completions for the A-League team.
The 30-year-old had the highest number of successful passes in the A-League; 1539 passes with an 85.7 per cent success rate, had City’s highest number of interceptions (41), and two goals and an assist to his name.
Starting 25 of City’s 28 matches during the 2016/17 campaign – Kilkenny finished the season behind only captain Bruno Fornaroli in minutes played.
Following the conclusion of City’s season, the Club’s football department submitted votes for the Player of the Year award, with Kilkenny topping the polls. Kilkenny was also recognised by the Club’s fans, whose collective votes throughout the season earned him a second accolade; the Etihad Supporters’ Player of the Year.
City’s A-League coach Michael Valkanis said: “Neil has been a vital contributor this season and quickly established himself as an important and consistent figure in our starting line-up.
“He is such a passionate competitor in matches and in training; he wears his heart on his sleeve and gives everything for 90 minutes each week.
“Given his considerable experience in England, Neil has been able to demonstrate his talent and leadership qualities to help the performance of our team and has positively contributed to the development of our young players.”
A-League captain Fornaroli collected the Club’s Golden Boot award, with his haul of 17 goals this season securing consecutive Club awards, following his record-breaking tally last season.
Following his second season in the A-League, Fornaroli has now scored 42 goals in 56 A-League appearances for the Club; an average of 1.3 goals per match.
Goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen was presented the Clubman Award, which honours the player who best embodies the spirit, character and values of Melbourne City FC, reflecting their contribution to the Club both on and off the field.
Sorensen influence extends well beyond his impact on the pitch, with the former Denmark international an inspirational first-team figure.
A key mentor for City’s younger first-team players, Sorensen helped in the delivery of the Club’s goalkeeper academy program and was regularly involved in Club’s community outreach program, City in the Community.
Young striker Yusuf Ahmed, a member of Melbourne City’s Championship-winning Foxtel National Youth League team, won the Club’s Rising Star award, scoring five times in eight league matches.
Awarded to the Youth Player at the Club whose development has most excelled over the past 12 months, Melbourne City’s coaches consider the age of the player, his rate of improvement, his performances within the National Premier League and National Youth League - as well as the player’s overall conduct while representing Melbourne City.
Promising 18-year-old striker Daniel Arzani received the La Trobe University Education Award, presented to the player who has demonstrated a willingness to learn and develop their skills outside of football. Arzani is currently completing a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at La Trobe University and is enrolled in La Trobe’s Elite Athlete Program, which allows him to manage his studies alongside his duties as a full-time footballer.
The Club also acknowledged Westfield W-League’s award-winners Steph Catley (Player of the Year), Jess Fishlock (Golden Boot) and Lydia Williams (Coach’s Award) at the event, who were presented with their respective awards at an event in February, celebrating the W-League Championship, prior to the departure of the players for their respective off-season commitments.
The Club’s Sports Science Coordinator Ralph Napoli was awarded the Employee of the Year Award, which recognises the staff member whose tireless work has best reflected the ethos and philosophy of Melbourne City FC, and is voted on by City staff.
Sarah Pavano, who volunteered with the Club’s commercial department, and Christian Riotti, who has volunteered for the Club’s performance analysis team, shared the Volunteer of the Year Award, which seeks to acknowledge the effort of the volunteers whose commitment to Melbourne City FC is indispensable to the organisation.
Melbourne City FC 2016/17 Awards Summary
Hyundai A-League Awards
A-League Player of the Year: Neil Kilkenny
Etihad Supporters’ Player of the Year: Neil Kilkenny
A-League Golden Boot: Bruno Fornaroli (17 goals)
Clubman Award: Thomas Sorensen
Westfield W-League Awards
W-League Player of the Year: Steph Catley
W-League Golden Boot: Jess Fishlock (8 goals)
W-League Coach’s Award: Lydia Williams
Employee of the Year: Ralph Napoli, Sports Science Coordinator
La Trobe University Education Award: Daniel Arzani
Rising Star: Yusuf Ahmed
Volunteer of the Year: Sarah Pavano and Christian Riotti