Perth RedStar’s Chok Dau and Laura Waltman of Fremantle City were last night hailed as Football West’s Gold Medal winners for 2023.
The pair were crowned at the annual NPLWA Awards at The Westin Perth.
Dau, who helped RedStar claim this season’s NPLWA – Men’s title, finished on 23 votes, three in front of teammate and three-time winner Daryl Nicol. Dean Cummings of Sorrento FC was a further vote back.
Waltman, who added this year’s Women’s Gold Medal to the one she shared in 2019, collected a massive 34 votes – seven clear of RedStar’s Reina Kagami and Balcatta Etna’s Tia Stonehill, who tied for second.
The winners received their Gold Medals from Ali Kent MLA and Football West Chair Sherif Andrawes. Ms Kent, of Parliamentary Friends of Football, was representing Deputy Premier Rita Saffioti.
”I’m overwhelmed,” said Waltman, who revealed she was close to quitting football until a chat with Fremantle head coach Faye Chambers.
“I wasn’t really enjoying it at the end of last season, I was going to stop playing. Faye asked, ‘What can we do to keep you’.
“I moved into midfield, I was always a centre forward, and my coach Faye let me have free rein of that middle area … I just enjoy the freedom.”
Dau praised coach Callum Salmon and his coaching team for pushing the players on to the league title after they finished second in 2022.
“I’m really proud of this moment … it’s the icing on the cake for a great year,” he said.
RedStar striker Nicol retained the Men’s NPL Golden Boot, the third time he has claimed the award, while Stonehill won her second Women’s NPL Golden Boot.
The Ron Tindall Award for the NPLWA - Men’s First Team Coach of the Year was won by Salmon, who guided RedStar to the league title following a terrific tussle with Stirling Macedonia and Olympic Kingsway.
The NPLWA - Women’s First Team Coach of the Year was Carlos Vega Mena, also of RedStar, whose side successfully defended the league title and Top Four Cup. Female Coach of the Year was Fremantle City’s Chambers.
The Dylan Tombides Young Player of the Year award, named in honour of the late Perth SC and Stirling Macedonia junior, went to Jayden Gorman of Perth Glory.
Clara Hoarau of Murdoch University Melville took the Female Young Player of the Year Award.
The NPLWA – Women’s Goalkeeper of the Year award was won for the second successive year by Rebecca Bennett of Perth SC, while James Bosdet of Stirling Macedonia was named Men’s NPL Goalkeeper of the Year.
Stirling also celebrated winning the NPL Men’s Goal of the Season thanks to Daniel Zivkovic’s stunning effort against Bayswater City from Round Six. The Women’s NPL Goal of the Season was equally impressive, won by Hyundai NTC midfielder Grace Johnston for her rocket against Fremantle City in Round 20.
Subiaco AFC received a cheque for $2,000 for the NPLWA – Women’s Fair Play Award, and Olympic Kingsway received a similar cheque for winning the Men’s award.
Olympic Kingsway club secretary Mandy Gordon received the David Schrandt Award for the Administrator of the Year, while Luis Miguel Marcellino of the Gold Fields WA State Paras took the David Cantoni Disabilities in Football Award.
New Football West Life Members Nick Tana, Eddie Lennie and Phil Kelly were honoured, as were NPLWA Female Referee of the Year – Golden Whistle Award winner Jasmine Bremner and NPLWA Male Referee of the Year – Golden Whistle Award recipient Stewart Beattie.
Football West CEO Jamie Harnwell said: “Congratulations to all of our award winners, especially our Gold Medallists Chok Dau and Laura Waltman on their fantastic individual achievements.
“Thanks to MLA Ali Kent for her speech and helping present the awards after stepping in to represent Deputy Premier Rita Saffioti, plus all of our partners and supporters, and to everyone who has contributed throughout the season.”
2023 NPLWA Awards winners
NPLWA - Men’s Gold Medal: Chok Dau (Perth RedStar)
NPLWA - Women’s Gold Medal: Laura Waltman (Fremantle City)
Ron Tindall Award for NPLWA – Men’s Coach of the Year: Callum Salmon (Perth RedStar)
NPLWA – Women’s Coach of the Year: Carlos Vega Mena (Perth RedStar)
Women’s Coach of the Year: Faye Chambers (Fremantle City)
Dylan Tombides Young Player of the Year: Jayden Gorman (Perth Glory)
Female Young Player of the Year Award: Clara Hoarau (MUM FC)
NPLWA – Men’s Goalkeeper of the Year: James Bosdet (Stirling Macedonia)
NPLWA – Women’s Goalkeeper of the Year: Rebecca Bennett (Perth SC)
NPLWA – Men’s Golden Boot: Daryl Nicol (Perth RedStar)
NPLWA – Women’s Golden Boot: Tia Stonehill (Balcatta Etna)
NPLWA – Men’s Goal of the Season: Daniel Zivkovic (Stirling Macedonia)
NPLWA – Women’s Goal of the Season: Grace Johnston (Hyundai NTC)
NPLWA – Men’s Fair Play Award: Olympic Kingsway
NPLWA – Women’s Fair Play Award: Subiaco AFC
NPLWA – Men’s U18 Troy Bernard Player of the Year: Santiago Flores (Perth Glory) and Roland Ballah (Perth RedStar)
NPLWA – Men’s U20 Player of the Year: Keegan Chambers (Sorrento FC)
NPLWA – Women’s U21 Player of the Year: Dareskadar Tamru (Balcatta Etna)
NPLWA – Men’s U18 Golden Boot: Santiago Flores (Perth Glory)
NPLWA – Men’s U20 Golden Boot: Keegan Chambers (Sorrento FC)
NPLWA Women’s U21 Golden Boot: Dareskadar Tamru (Balcatta Etna)
David Schrandt Award for the Administrator of the Year: Mandy Gordon (Olympic Kingsway)
David Cantoni Disabilities in Football Award: Luis Miguel Marcelino
NPLWA Female Referee of the Year – Golden Whistle Award: Jasmine Bremner
NPLWA Male Referee of the Year – Golden Whistle Award: Stewart Beattie
Football West Life Members: Nick Tana, Eddie Lennie and Phil Kelly