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Johnny Warren Medal 2018-19: Castro, Krishna, Barbarouses among A-League contenders

7:45 PM EDT 5/12/19
Johnny Warren Medal contenders
This season's race for the competition's best player is set to be closer than ever

The Johnny Warren Medal - Australian football's most prestigious individual medal - will be given to the A-League's best player at the Dolan Warren Awards ceremony at The Star casino on May 13.

Several competition stars are expected to be in contention to win the award with there being no standout due to a variety of reasons.

Former winners of the medal Diego Castro and Milos Ninkovic will be in the running along with a few new faces.

Scroll down to see the contenders to win the Johnny Warren Medal...

  • Diego Castro Perth Glory

    #1 Diego Castro (Perth Glory)

    Can the Spanish maestro Castro win the Johnny Warren Medal despite starting only 13 matches and coming on a substitute in seven?

    The 36-year-old, who turns 37 in July, has already won the Alex Tobin Medal for Fox Sports player of the year from Sydney FC playmaker Milos Ninkovic.

    Castro has scored seven goals and grabbed six assists after an injury-interrupted start to the season - playing a crucial role in Perth's Premiers Plate triumph and Championship favouritism.

    He has created one scoring chance every 33 minutes this A-League campaign the third most frequent of any player (min. 100 minutes played).

    Despite being close to retirement at the end of last season, Castro has now re-signed with the Glory for two more years and will be close to 39 years old when his contract expires.

    The left winger won the Johnny Warren Medal in 2015-16 - when he scored 13 goals and created two in a stellar individual campaign.


  • Roy Krishna Wellington Phoenix

    #2 Roy Krishna (Wellington Phoenix)

    A-League Golden Boot winner Krishna is in the peak form of his career, scoring 18 goals as he spearheaded Wellington to their first finals appearance since 2015.

    After a slow start to the season with only one goal in his first five matches, the Fijian exploded with five braces and a hat-trick through the rest of the campaign.

    At the age of 31, Krishna is playing the best football of his career, terrorising defenders with his pace and clinical finishing.

    Only Adam Le Fondre (42) has made more shots on target this season than Krishna (38).

    It's likely he will poll strongly in the games he scored multiple goals and will definitely figure among the leaders come the end of the count.

  • Kosta Barbarouses Melbourne Victory

    #3 Kosta Barbarouses (Melbourne Victory)

    The Kiwi attacker has had his most prolific A-League campaign with 14 goals - eclipsing the 11 he struck for Ange Postecoglou's championship-winning Brisbane Roar team in 2010-11.

    His extra goals have been born out of a move from the wing to striker, with the 29-year-old excelling in a role alongside Swede Ola Toivonen.

    Barbarouses, who played in every regular season match, has been Victory's most consistent forward because of the fitness issues to foreign stars Toivonen and Keisuke Honda.

    The former Phoenix player has made 189 touches in the opposition box this A-League season, more than any other player in the competition. 

    He has also scored several winning goals in matches for Victory, while snaring a hat-trick and two braces.


  • Neil Kilkenny Perth Glory

    #4 Neil Kilkenny (Perth Glory)

    The English-born playmaker has been the heartbeat of Perth Glory in midfield this season - and it will be interesting to see how many votes he and fellow contender Diego Castro steal off each other.

    Kilkenny scored six goals - five of them coming from the spot - but also contributed six assists and his 56 created chances is the third most of any player in the league.

    Not only did the 33-year-old figure often in Glory's attacks, he also provided leadership and defensive discipline in the midfield area.

    Glory will poll a lot of votes because of their strong winning record and the question remains of how the award's adjudicators split brilliant performances from Kilkenny and Castro. 

  • Milos Ninkovic

    #5 Milos Ninkovic (Sydney FC)

    While it hasn't been the Serbian playmaker's best season, he has still been Sydney's most influential player in a strong season for the Sky Blues.

    The 34-year-old has scored two goals and made six assists - which is an impressive ratio from only creating 33 chances for the campaign.

    Ninkovic will likely poll votes because of his influence in matches and reputation as a past winner in 2016-17 but it may not be enough to get the medal around his neck for a second time.

  • Isaias Sanchez Adelaide United

    #6 Isaias (Adelaide United)

    The Adelaide skipper won the club's best player award for the third consecutive season in another superb campaign of midfield dominance.

    He chipped in with four goals and two assists but was mostly known for controlling the tempo in the middle of park and shutting down dangerous opposition opponents.

    It's unlikely the 32-year-old Spaniard will be able to poll enough votes in an award that generally rewards attackers - but he will be in the mix.

  • Keisuke Honda Melbourne Victory

    #7 Keisuke Honda (Melbourne Victory)

    There is almost no doubt the Japanese marquee will be leading the award in December - after an extremely hot start to the season - but a two-month injury means his 18 appearances will probably not be enough to win the medal.

    Honda's seven goals and five assists - the same as Castro - is an impressive number but he has struggled to dominate games since his fitness issues.

    Unless the race is a tight one with a winner on a low amount of votes, it's unlikely the 32-year-old will be crowned the league's best.