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Own team a threat to Ninkovic Medal hopes

NZN 30/04/2017 Ben McKay

Milos Ninkovic's biggest barrier to claiming the Johnny Warren Medal could be his A-League premiership-winning teammates.

The Serbian is a deserved favourite to win the award for the A-League's best performed player at the Dolan Warren Awards ceremony in Sydney on Monday night.

Sydney's number 10 has been a sight to see this season, scoring nine goals and laying off 10, displaying equal parts ruthlessness and grace in the Sky Blues midfield.

But in a team full of match-winners, he's no guarantee to win the prize.

Alex Brosque, Bobo and Filip Holosko have all put in man-of-the-match performances in a sky blue shirt and will poll well.

And while no player from the back half of the field has ever won the prize, Sydney FC defenders - including Rhyan Grant, Alex Wilkinson and goalkeeper Danny Vukovic - will all pick up votes too.

Could it be enough to prevent the 32-year-old winning?

It's the fate that befell Aaron Mooy last season.

Perth wizard Diego Castro pipped Mooy to the award by one vote despite the Socceroo's out-of-the-box campaign.

Melbourne City teammate Bruno Fornaroli's heavy polling stopped Mooy tallying the votes he needed to win.

Castro will again contend. The Spanish playmaker is the heartbeat of Glory's attack.

Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers will also have strong performers.

While Besart Berisha claimed his first golden boot award in six seasons - sharing with Brisbane Roar's Jamie Maclaren - it's two of his Victory teammates that are likely to be challenging for the Medal.

No man was involved in more goals this season than 2012/13 winner Marco Rojas (12 goals, 11 assists), while Socceroo James Troisi's eye-catching displays from attacking midfield could also be rewarded.

Wanderers whiz Nico Martinez is also an outside shot, given his strong performances in Western Sydney's wins.

Referees, technical experts, former players and media all vote on a 3-2-1 basis for the best players in match. Those votes are aggregated across the 27-round season to produce a champion.

The awards night will also crown a young player of the year, a coach of the year, goalkeeper of the year and referee of the year for both the A-League and W-League among other prizes.

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