Kucharski and Badawiya claim top honours


Sydney FC’s rising young gun Jaiden Kucharski and Sydney University SFC’s Rola Badawiya were the talk of the 2022 National Premier Leagues Gold Medal Dinner after taking out the Player of the Year honours at the Hyatt Regency on Friday 16th of September.

Players, coaches, officials as well as high profile guests attended what was a fantastic evening acknowledging the achievements from the top tier National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s and Women’s seasons.

It was all smiles considering this event was put on hold for two years due to COVID affected seasons in 2020 and 2021.

It was a fantastic season for both males and females as they got together in a monumental evening where 350 guests attended with the night proudly presented by Simon Hill.

There were a number of special guests which included former Socceroo legends Rale Rasic and Les Scheinflug, Football Australia Project Manager Community Robbie Middleby, former Charles Valentine Medallists and Football NSW Life Members, along with the Football NSW Board.

The Club Championship awards were one of the first awards of the evening with Sydney University wrapping yet another one in the NPL NSW Women’s category while for a record-breaking 16th time, Blacktown City were top of the trumps in the Men’s category.

Referees were honoured soon after with Hassan Jomaa taking out the NPL NSW Men’s category after a sterling season which also saw him earn a spot into the 2022/2023 A-League Men referees panel. Mikayla Ryan clinched top honours in the NPL NSW Women’s category and she too caught the attention of the A-League Women’s this time, pushing her cause as a fourth official which was an amazing honour.

The announcement of the Player of the Year and Golden Boot winners in the Under 20/Reserve grade competition were up next and what a season it was for both categories.

Sydney University’s Stephanie Augoustis took out the honours in the Women’s Reserve grade notching up 21 goals while Mt Druitt Town Rangers’ Mabior Garang took out the 20 Men’s scoring 18 for the year.

The Player of the Year awards were up next, and Football NSW Institute’s Siena Arrarte grabbed all the plaudits for an outstanding year in the 20’s while Sydney FC’s Luka Smyth stood out from the rest of the pack in a big season. No doubt these two players will be knocking on senior club doors in both the men and women NPL competitions and beyond.

Goalkeepers were next on the awards block, and it was Sydney University’s quality shotstopper Courtney Newborn who took out the NPL NSW Women’s category in what was an impressive year for the gun custodian. Manly United’s Jack Greenwood was next up and clinched his respective award after he assisted in the Northern Beaches fantastic run into the finals this year.

The Golden Boot award winners were announced soon after.

The ‘Debbie Tait’ Award for the NPL NSW Women’s Golden Boot was awarded to APIA Leichhardt FC’s Shea Connors who scored 15 goals for the year.

Finally, in the NPL Men’s category, it was a tight contest, but Sydney Olympic’s Irish and former A-League star Roy O’Donovan came through on the final day of round 22, scoring 21 goals, one more than his nearest rival in Rockdale Ilinden’s Alec Urosevski.

It was onto the NPL NSW ‘Goal of the Year’ award and after 22 rounds there was only one clear winner. In what was a stunning year for goals it came from Manly United’s Brazilian maestro Bruno Mendes that went viral against the Sutherland Sharks in round 14 of the competition.

The Coach of the Year category was next with Sydney University’s quality manager Emily Husband getting the nod from her fellow peers in the NPL NSW Women’s category. It was a great year for Husband and her team after guiding the side to the finals series and picking up the 2022 Premiership. Manly United’s outgoing coach Adam Griffiths took out the Men’s category after a splendid season that saw the Northern Beaches narrowly miss out on both the Premiership and Championship. His solid year did not go unnoticed as he was appointed Western Sydney Wanderers’ joint assistant coach in the upcoming A-League Men’s season.

The time had come for the Player of the Year awards in what was the crucial part of the evening as the suspense was at boiling point for all players involved.

Once again, the clubs voted in a 3-2-1 system after each team put forward their best two players for the 2019 season.

Things were tight in the NPL NSW Women’s category however it was Sydney University’s U.S star Rola Badawiya who was quite simply outstanding and a shining light for her side grabbing the evening’s top honour. The ace striker notched up 13 goals and played an integral role in Sydney University’s Premiership victory.
Badawiya beat the likes of Macarthur Rams’ Mel Caceres, APIA’s Shea Connors and Northern Tigers’ Ashlee Brodigan for the top accolade.

The stage was set for the final award of the evening and that was the NPL NSW Men’s award for 2022, the Gold Medal.
After 22 rounds the award was presented to Sydney FC’s young gun Jaiden Kucharski, who collected his second award of the evening.
The 20-year-old became one of the youngest players ever to scoop this award following an amazing year for the Sky Blues where he finished up with 18 goals – it was also a season that earnt him a first grade contract in Steve Corica’s A-League Men’s squad.
Kucharski beat the likes of Rockdale Ilinden’s Alec Urosevski, Manly United’s Seiya Kambayashi and Sydney Olympic’s Roy O’Donovan for the big prize and was truly humbled to have won such an accolade.

2022 NPL NSW Award Winners

Fair Play Award

NPL NSW Men’s – Sydney FC

NSW Women’s – FNSW Institute

Club Championship    

NPL NSW Men’s – Blacktown City

NSW Women’s – Sydney University SFC

Referee of the Year      

NPL NSW Women’s – Mikayla Ryan

NPL NSW Men’s – Hassan Jomaa

Goalkeeper of the Year

NPL NSW Women’s – Courtney Newborn (Sydney University SFC)

NPL NSW Men’s – Jack Greenwood (Manly United)

Golden Boot Awards   

NPL NSW Men’s 2 20’s – Mabior Garang (Mt Druitt Town Rangers) – 18 goals

NSW Women’s Reserves – Stephanie Augoustis (Sydney University SFC) – 21 goals

NPL NSW Women’s – Shea Connors (APIA Leichhardt) – 15 goals

NPL NSW Men’s – Roy O’Donovan (Sydney Olympic) – 21 goals

Coach of the Year

NSW Women’s – Emily Husband (Sydney University SFC)

NPL NSW Men’s – Adam Griffiths (Manly United)

 NPL NSW Goal of the Year   

NPL NSW Men’s – Bruno Mendes (Manly United)

Player of the Year        

NPL Women’s Reserves – Siena Arrarte (FNSW Institute)

NPL NSW Men’s 20’s – Luka Smyth (Sydney FC)

NPL NSW Women’s – Rola Badawiya (Sydney University SFC)

NPL NSW Men’s – Jaiden Kucharski (Sydney FC)

Charles Valentine Medal – Graham Crawhall (Blacktown City)

-Football NSW Media Release