Durante takes top award

Captain Andrew Durante took out the top award at the Wellington Phoenix's annual awards function on Wednesday night, winning the Sony Player of the Year title.

Captain Andrew Durante took out the top award at the Wellington Phoenix's annual awards function on Wednesday night, winning the Sony Player of the Year title.

Durante has played every minute of every game in the Hyundai A-League campaign to-date and will lead his team-mates again on Saturday in the biggest game of their Phoenix careers against Sydney.

Coach Ricki Herbert, who along with assistants Luciano Trani and Jonathan Gould, Phoenix chief executive Tony Pignata and football operations manager Mal Impiombato, judged the Player of Year category said Durante was thoroughly deserving of the top award.

"Paul Ifill certainly grabbed the attention and the headlines but Andrew's work on defence was top-shelf throughout the season," the coach said.

"Scoring goals up one end is great but counts for nothing if you can't keep the opposition out at the other end.

"In that regard Andrew has been outstanding. His partnerships with Jon McKain and Ben Sigmund at the heart of the back four have been superb and his leadership on and off the field integral to all the success the team has enjoyed this season."

The 27-year-old skipper's success prevented talismanic striker Paul Ifill from a clean sweep. The Briton, who only arrived at the start of the season, won the remaining four titles - Players' Player of the Year, Members' Player of the Year, Media Player of the Year and the Golden Boot for his dozen goals during the 27-round regular season.

"What can you say about Paul that hasn't already been said,? Asked Herbert.

"He's been a tremendous addition to the squad this season and I have no doubt he's the best striker in the league."

Right back Troy Hearfield was named the club's Under-23 Player of the Year as the highest polling young player in voting for the club's supreme award.