Carl Valeri has won the Victory Medal.
Carl Valeri has won the Victory Medal. TRACEY NEARMY

Victory skipper takes top club gong

MELBOURNE Victory captain Carl Valeri has been crowned the Victory medallist after another stunning A-League campaign, pipping James Troisi.

Valeri, who missed most of the previous season after a career-threatening inflammatory brain condition, was rewarded for returning to his commanding best by claiming Victory's top gong.

The former Socceroo polled 62 votes beating James Troisi (55) in Victory's player of the season award with Marco Rojas (37) third with the coaching staff voting in a 3-2-1 system.

Troisi led towards the end of the season but Valeri stood tall in the big matches, including the grand final where he finished just one vote behind Joe Marston medallist Daniel Georgievski, and polled strongly in the Victory medal count to secure victory.

Valeri, who missed just two games this season and polled in 20 of his 27 games and was deemed best afield by the coaching staff 11 times, was chuffed to claim his first Victory medal.

He paid tribute to wife Whitney for supporting him through last season's battle, where he struggled to walk without her assistance.

"It's an honour to be here, I didn't think I'd win it but I'm very proud to win this medal,” Valeri said.

"We're upset because of the club we are and the standards we've set, and the standards Kevin (Muscat) has set.

"Our objective is to win it, not just to be there.

"But you look at the list of winners in the office, even last year Matthieu Delpierre and Fahid (Ben Khalfallah in 2014-15). Some absolute gentlemen have won this award.

"To be honest, I'd trade it in for another five minutes with Sydney FC (in a grand final), I'd trade it in to have a shot at them.

"I'd like to thank my wife Whitney who was an amazing support. There were times when I had to hold her hand to cross the road.”

Rojas claimed the players' player of the year and goal of the season gongs for his Round 23 strike against Perth Glory.

Teen Cameron McGilp, who made his senior debut this season, won Victory's Foxtel National Youth League medal, while Pierce Waring was the golden boot winner.

Star English striker Natasha Dowie swept all before her in the W-League awards, winning the Victory Women's Medal, players' player of the year and the golden boot after netting nine in 12 matches.


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