Historic award for Galic, Izzy & Nizzy dominate 2024 MMD

Central Coast Mariners held their annual Mariners Medal Dinner on Monday evening, celebrating the fantastic return season to the Liberty A-League and an outstanding season so far for our men’s side.

The event was hosted at The Gallery inside the stunning new Gosford RSL and sponsored by Six Strings Brewing Co, Lasercraft, Blueberry Events and La Parisienne. Here’s who took home awards on a fantastic evening.

Men’s Awards

It was a flying visit for Mark Jackson’s men, who had to leave early due to the training schedule ahead of our season finale against Adelaide on Wednesday but Josh Nisbet stole the show again, scooping three awards, Max Balard took home the prestigious Mariners Medal whilst there were also awards for Mikael Doka, Christian Theoharous and Brian Kaltak.

Danny Vukovic received recognition for his record-breaking milestone of 100 A-League clean sheets, achieved earlier this season, and there was also special recognition for Nisbet and Storm Roux for their long service.

Also receiving long service awards were Darren Dobson, an integral part of Mark Jackson’s backroom staff as Team Manager, former CEO of nine years Shaun Mielekamp and Academy Coordinator Cameron Stone, who this week celebrated the 10-year milestone working at the Mariners.

🏆🏆🏆 Players’, Fans’ and OSC Player of the Year – Josh Nisbet

Nisbet starred at the 2023 awards night, taking home four trophies and he was at it again this season, dominating the 2024 men’s awards with another three to add to his collection. Our midfield maestro was named the Official Supporters Club Player of the Year, Fans’ Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year after another outstanding campaign.

Nizzy has played every single minute in the Isuzu UTE A-League, and missed only half an hour of our additional 10 matches in the AFC Cup, testament to his work ethic, fitness, reliability and commitment.

It’s not just all hard work with Nizzy though, the quality is there for all to see too and no more so than this season. Control, composure and agility has been added to by a career-best tally of three goals and an astonishing 16 assists in all competitions.

That contribution led to not only three special awards at Medal Dinner, but also a first Socceroo call-up and International debut against Lebanon in March. Some team silverware is all that is left to cap off another stellar season from our talisman.

🥇 2024 Isuzu UTE A-League Mariners Medal – Max Balard

Nisbet’s midfield partner-in-crime took home one of the most prestigious awards of the evening, the Mariners Medal.

Another consistent performer in the heart of our midfield, Balard has missed just one Isuzu UTE A-League game this season.

Balard has made three assists and whilst not previously a recognised goalscorer, has seemingly founded his goalscoring touch just at the right time.

92 minutes into his 74th appearance, Max kept us waiting for his first A-League goal but with the score tied at 1-1 against Melbourne City, we don’t think he could have picked a better time.

His first A-League goal was not long after followed by the second, a brilliant midfielder’s goal, running onto the ball and finding the back of the net with a crisp finish from the edge of the box, in our 2-0 win over Western.

“I’ll be honest I was not expecting this when the award was getting called out.” Balard said on stage.

“I’m super thankful to all my teammates firstly, without you I wouldn’t be the player I am today. All the boys I came through the academy with, I appreciate you guys.”

Max went on to thank staff, sponsors and everyone on board at the club and also congratulated Emily Husband’s team on their great season.

🏆 Coaches Player of the Year – Brian Kaltak

The Brick Wall of Gosford made it two Coaches Player of the Years awards in a row. Nick Montgomery chose Kaltak last year and Jackson has done the same this time around, proving Brian is not only a fan favourite but a coaches favourite.

Kaltak is another ever-present in Jackson’s team this season, contributing massively to our chart-topping tally of 11 clean sheets.

Interceptions, towering headers and brave blocks are not everything Brian brings to the team, his composure and range of passing with both feet are vital to how Jacko has got the team playing and Kaltak has even popped up with key contributions in the other box this season!

Brian has contributed four goals in all competitions, two in the A-League and two in the AFC Cup, most recently a crucial opening goal in our Inter-Zonal Final tie with Abdysh-Ata Kant.

Presenting the award on stage, Jackson recalled how he couldn’t believe the 30-year-old has only been a ‘on paper a professional footballer for only two years’, saying to put it that way is a disservice as Brian’s work and dedication means he has ‘lived the life of a footballer for many years’ prior to actually signing his first professional contract here at the Mariners.

It’s a proud moment for me, to get this special award for a second year in a row.

Brian Kaltak on being named Coaches Player of the Year.

It was a tough start as everyone knows but the determination and amount of effort, for me and my partners Dan Hall and Nathan

🏆 Goal of the Season – Christian Theoharous

With one game to go at the time of writing, the Mariners have scored 47 A-League goals, made up of classy team goals, dramatic late winners and individual stunners.

So there was plenty to choose from but only one winner and it certainly falls into the final category… This rocket from Christian Theoharous is your 2023/24 Goal of the Season.

🏆 Newcomer of the Year – Mikael Doka

Already a fan’s favourite in Gosford after some incredible moments in his debut season, Doka said he feels at home on the Coast and ‘already feels Australian’ after being named Newcomer of the Year.

Doka has hit his best form right when the Mariners needed him in the second half of the season, stepping up massively in an attacking role after the departure of his Brazilian compatriot Marco Tulio.

From February 18th when he scored his first goal against Western Sydney Wanderers, Doka has gone on to contribute an incredible 12 G/A in 14 games.

Doka has been instrumental in our AFC Cup run including a stunning goal against Macarthur, a brace against Odisha and a goal in our Inter-Zonal Final second leg win over Abdysh-Ata Kant.

He also has six assists in the A-League but there is no doubting the highlight of our Newcomer of the Year’s first season in Australia has to be this huge goal in the Premiers Plate race.

Women’s Awards

Nisbet might have a new competitor when it comes to stealing the show on awards night, as Izzy Gomez was the most decorated Women’s player of the evening, taking home three trophies.

Bianca Galic was the winner of the first ever Women’s Mariners Medal, one of two trophies for her on the night. Wurigumula also picked up two awards and Peta Trimis was named Newcomer of the Year.

🏆🏆🏆 Players’, Coaches’ and OSC Player of the Year – Isabel Gomez

The heartbeat of our midfield, Izzy Gomez swooped three trophies after a fantastic season for the Mariners.

Her infectious energy, tenacious tackling and relentless running saw Izzy rapidly become a fan’s favourite and a mainstay in the team, Izzy missed just one match this season, due to suspension, scoring once and making three assists.

“I’m extremely grateful to get these awards, to get picked by the other players who are unbelievable players as well, I’m so grateful.” Gomez said.

🥇🏆 2024 Mariners Medal & Goal of the Season – Bianca Galic

There’s just been something about the Mariners and consistent midfield performers this season. Galic joined the list of midfield winners on the evening with a historic award, the first ever Liberty A-League Mariners Medal.

Galic was the only Mariners player to start every single Liberty A-League game which speaks for itself when it comes to her energy, reliability and consistency for Emily Husband’s team this season.

Our all-action number eight operated on both the left and right, as a number 10 or deeper in midfield next to her formidable partner Gomez.

“I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, I’ve got so much to give to them.” Galic said.

We all dreamed of making the Grand Final and going all the way in our first season but how much we have grown as a group in such a short space of time is nothing short of amazing.

Bianca Galic on the 23/24 Season after being named the first ever Liberty A-League Mariners Medalist.

“I’m so proud to have these girls standing beside me week in, week out,” she added.

Galic might have wanted to add a few more goals but the one she did manage earned her another trophy on the night. If you’re only going to score one goal all season, you might as well make it Goal of the Season!

🏆🏆 Fans’ Player of the Season and Golden Boot winner – Wurigumula

Provider of some incredible moments in our return season, Wurigumula scooped the Fans’ Player of the Season and Golden Boot after her eight goals this season, edging Rola Badawiya’s seven in the regular season.

The pick of the bunch was a stunning strike against Canberra and one that will live long in the memory, a 99th minute winner against Sydney FC.

🏆 Newcomer of the Season – Peta Trimis

It has been a season to remember for our Young Matilda Trimis, the 17-year-old’s debut A-League season saw her make 18 appearances, scoring three goals.

As well as a maiden Liberty A-League strike against Canberra, Peta also netted against Wellington Phoenix at Unite Round and scored her first goal at Our Paradise against Melbourne Victory.

Another highlight of Peta’s breakthrough season was representing Australia at the U20 Women’s Asia Cup where she was nominated for Future Star of the Tournament after scoring three goals to help Leah Blayney’s side qualify for the 2024 U20 World Cup with a third placed finish.

“It’s been such a good season, I couldn’t have picked a better club to come to for my first year.” Peta said.

“I’m so grateful for all the players and staff and how far we’ve come.”