May 12, 2015 12:19:25 UK
Kevin Muscat’s success in guiding Melbourne Victory to the premiership has been recognised by his award as coach of the year.
Muscat won the Premier’s Plate in his first full season in charge, having taken over in November 2013 when Ange Postecoglou was handed the top job with the Socceroos.
Postecoglou, who had won two consecutive Grand Finals with Brisbane Roar before switching to Victory, didn’t manage to take the club into the decider in his only campaign in Melbourne – they lost in the preliminary final to Central Coast.
Muscat has made the team his own this season, signing an outstanding group of players including Tunisia international Fahid Ben Khalfallah, French defender Mathieu Delpierre and former Roar hotshot Besart Berisha.
Victory finished three points clear of Sydney FC at the top of the table and will take on the Sky Blues at AAMI Park in Sunday’s Grand Final.
Victory are 1.66 to lift the trophy, with Sydney FC 2.20.
Muscat won two championships in his playing days with Victory, and this season’s premiership is the first for the club in six years.
He was voted as coach of the year at the Australian Football Awards, while Ben Khalfallah was third in the voting for the Johnny Warren Medal as player of the year.
That went to Wellington Phoenix’s Nathan Burns, who has been in tremendous form for Ernie Merrick’s side and was a member of Australia’s Asian Cup-winning squad in January.
Adelaide United’s Marcelo Carrusca was second in the Johnny Warren Medal voting, while Ben Khalfallah’s teammate Kosta Barbarouses took fourth spot.
Muscat is the second Victory coach to win the national award, following Merrick who won it twice for guiding the club to championships in 2007 and 2009.
Victory are 2.25 to beat Sydney, who are 3.00 with the draw 3.50.
Adelaide’s James Jeggo was named the Young Footballer of the Year ahead of Brisbane Roar’s Brandon Borrello, while United’s Eugene Galekovic won the goalkeeper of the year award for a record fourth time.
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