Pundits tip Phoenix coach and player as contenders for A-League awards

Halfway through the women’s A-League season, Wellington Phoenix names are being touted as potential winners of the competition’s Coach and Player of the Year.

The latest episode of Dub Zone, the weekly show that covers the Liberty A-League, featured a section in which panelists predicted who might end the season with the Julie Dolan Medal (for Player of the Year), and the Coach of the Year accolade.

Show host Niav Owens was joined by Teo Pellizzeri and former Matildas Cath Cannuli and Alicia Ferguson in the discussion.

Mariana Speckmaier … ‘wonderful for the Nix this season.’

Former international Ferguson picked Wellington Phoenix striker Mariana Speckmaier as her Julie Dolan Medal favourite.

“Mariana Speckmaier has really impressed me,” Ferguson said.

“… it’s that positivity, always wanting to get the ball, face forward, take players on. She’s always on the shoulder of the opposition looking for those balls in behind.

“She’s a really adaptable player and has so many great attacking skills. I think she’s been wonderful for the ‘Nix this season … loves a niggle, too, which is one of my favourite things about her! I’ve been really impressed with her.”

Speckmaier has scored three goals and provided two assists in her 10 appearances this season.

Ferguson and Cannuli both tip Paul Temple as the potential Coach of the Year.

“I’ve loved his recruitment, I love the way he’s set up the team,” Cannuli said.

“It’s going to be a big challenge for him now coming into the second half of the season.”

“I agree, I think he’s been really impressive,” Ferguson said.

“Whether you fit a system to the players or players to the system, and I think he’s got that nice balance of that.

“(He’s) probably a bit frustrated with recent results but as far as what they’ve brought to this season, I think he’s been excellent.”

Temple won the October/November Coach of the Month award after the Phoenix defied pre-season expectations to join the competition’s leaders.

Main photo: Paul Temple … in his first season as head coach.

Watch the Dub Zone episode

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