WINNER: Diego Castro.
WINNER: Diego Castro. TRACEY NEARMY

Diego Castro simply the best

PERTH Glory coach Kenny Lowe said he wasn't surprised Diego Castro won the Johnny Warren Medal.

Lowe said after watching Castro's first training session at the club he knew he was on to something special.

"I remember someone asked me a question at the time about whether he was good enough and I just said, 'he's the best player in the league,'" Lowe said.

"But it wasn't that I saw it, everyone could see it.

"He's just a fantastic footballer who came into the club at a really difficult time with the legacy issues (from salary cap sanctions), and he's helped the club grow out of that.

"Nothing was a problem for him. He just absolutely embraced everything."

In a new voting system which tallied votes from a panel that included former professional players, coaching experts, match officials and media representatives, the Spaniard topped the poll on 34, ahead of Melbourne City's Aaron Moy on 33 and Bruno Fornaroli and Jamie Maclaren from the Brisbane Roar tied for third on 27.

In the W-League, Ashleigh Sykes from Canberra United took out the Julie Dolan Medal, with Dylan Smith from Adelaide United claiming the Foxtel National Youth League Player of the Year Award.

Coach of the year went to Guillermo Amor, who turned around Adelaide United's season from a team which did not win in its first eight games, to a Premier's Plate winner and grand finalist.



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