CENTRAL Coast Mariners goalkeeper Mathew Ryan and Head Coach Graham Arnold have been honoured at the Hyundai A-League Awards Gala held in Sydney tonight.
20-year-old Ryan was named the competition’s NAB Young Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, as well as being feted as the Hyundai A-League’s Goalkeeper of the Year – also known as the Golden Glove.
Astute tactician Arnold was named Coach of the Year having guided the yellow and navy to their second Hyundai A-League Premiership.
Under Arnold’s management the Mariners were a consistent force throughout the Hyundai A-League season, and also managed to secure a high-pressure 2-1 away victory over Wellington Phoenix on the final day of the regular campaign to ward off the challenge of a fast finishing Brisbane Roar outfit.
Returning to top form following a knee injury that cruelled his chances of playing for the Qantas Young Socceroos at the 2011 FIFA U20 World Cup in Colombia, Ryan’s star has continued to rise this term.
And while the regularity of his reliable performances cannot be understated, perhaps one particular performance will stick in the minds of Mariners fans for years to come.
On Wednesday 18 January 2012, Ryan sparkled between the sticks to keep a sublime clean sheet against Melbourne Heart at AAMI Stadium. As Ryan dazzled, the hash-tag #thingmatryancouldstop began to trend nationally on Twitter as the custodian earned the applause and attention of football fans across the country.
After a successful debut season with the yellow and navy in 2010/11 in which he guided the club to its third Grand Final appearance in six Hyundai A-League seasons, as well as qualification for its second participation in Asia’s premier club competition, the AFC Champions League, Arnold has continued his good work this campaign.
Indeed, having mentored the Mariners to their second Hyundai A-League Premiership, Arnold has also secured the club AFC Champions League football in 2013.
On Wednesday both Arnold's and Ryan’s attention will return to the Mariners Preliminary Final clash against Perth Glory at Bluetongue Stadium this Saturday 14 April. Kick-off at Gosford’s idyllic bayside arena is at 5pm with the winner qualifying for the 2011/12 Hyundai A-League Grand Final against Brisbane Roar to be played at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday 22 April.