Retiring defender Matthieu Delpierre has won the 2015-16 Victory Medal in resounding fashion at the club’s awards night on Saturday night.
Delpierre was a clear winner of Melbourne Victory's highest individual award, scoring 73 votes, 32 ahead of Besart Berisha in second place, with Kosta Barbarouses third on 38 votes.
The 35-year-old went one better than in his debut season at Victory, when he finished a close second to Fahid Ben Khalfallah.
“I’d like to thank my wife for all the support and sacrifices she’s made,” Delpierre said on Saturday.
“Kev (coach Kevin Muscat) for giving me the chance to come to this club and to the chairman, the board, the fans and naturally my teammates, just a pleasure to play and train with you every day and to fight with you on the weekends.
“It’s just a group of beautiful people, so I will miss them. We still have two games to go so let’s do it.”
Victory Medal votes were independently cast on a 3-2-1 basis by head coach Kevin Muscat and assistant coach Rado Vidosic after every game, including finals.
Delpierre missed just two games in the 2015-16 Hyundai A-League campaign and was superb throughout in the centre of Victory's defence.
He polled votes in 21 of 26 games, and was awarded the maximum three votes on 13 occasions.
Delpierre didn't take the lead in the count until Round 10, when he overtook a fast-starting Oliver Bozanic, but by Round 15 he had already developed a lead of eight votes, which he built on in the second half of the season.
Berisha also improved on his Victory Medal performance from the previous campaign, finishing in second place after a season which yielded 18 goals in the Hyundai A-League – the highest tally ever by a Victory player. With that Berisha claimed the club's golden boot.
“Without the team I wouldn’t have been able to achieve this success, holding the golden boot, so thankyou to the boys who always help and support me achieve these great things,” Berisha said.
“The supporters of course have been great to me for helping achieve this, so thank you.
“I’m so happy to be at this club and I look forward to next season, I love playing for this club and this team.
“I hope next year we can win more trophies than what we got just then, because this club deserves it because we’re a great club.”
In other A-League awards, Delpierre was voted as the TAC Players' Player and Ben Khalfallah was awarded the Goal of the Year for his classy chip in the Melbourne Derby in Round 19, as voted on by Melbourne Victory members and fans.
Emerging striker Joey Katebian collected Victory's Foxtel National Youth League double, winning the Victory Youth Medal and Golden Boot Award.
In Westfield W-League awards, the Victory Women's Medal was awarded to 17-year-old defender Annabel Martin for an outstanding debut season at the club.
Martin played every minute of every game for Victory in the 2015/16 season, and announced herself as one of the rising stars of the W-League.
MelindaJ Barbieri was named Young Player of the Year, while Christine Nairn won the Players' Player of the Year Award.
Melbourne Victory 2015/16 Honour Roll
1. Matthieu Delpierre (73 votes)
2. Besart Berisha (41)
3. Kosta Barbarouses (38)
4. Oliver Bozanic (31)
5. Gui Finkler (23)
6. Rashid Mahazi (17)
7. Danny Vukovic (16)
8. Fahid Ben Khalfallah (14)
9. Jason Geria (13)
Eq 10. Daniel Georgievski (12)
Eq 10. Thomas Deng (12)
Other Hyundai A-League Awards
TAC Players' Player Award – Matthieu Delpierre
Goal of the Year – Fahid Ben Khalfallah (Round 19 v Melbourne City)
China Town Golden Boot Award – Besart Berisha (18 goals)
Foxtel National Youth League Awards
Victory Youth Medal – Joey Katebian
Golden Boot Award – Joey Katebian (10 goals)
Westfield W-League Awards
Victory Women's Medal – Annabel Martin
Young Player of the Year – MelindaJ Barbieri
Players' Player of the Year – Christine Nairncomments