Shinji Ono
Shinji Ono Brendon Thorne / Getty Images

Bets are on Shinji Ono to win Johnny Warren medal

JUST who has been the best player in the A-League this season?

We will find out officially tomorrow night when the Johnny Warren medallist for 2013 will be announced at a star-studded gala at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney.

All the smart money might be on Alessandro Del Piero picking up the award won by Brisbane Roar's Thomas Broich last year.

But I reckon there are a couple of other names that should be in the running for Australian football's most prestigious award.

Del Piero, of course, should be among the favourites to take the medal which is voted for by the other A-League players.

The Italian has, at times, been sublime this season and almost inspired his team to reach the finals series after a shocking start.

But for me Sydney needed to be in the finals for Del Piero to get the votes.

That is why I would go for Japanese star Shinji Ono.

I have been championing him all season and have been a fan of his long before he came to these shores.

What he has done on the field this season on occasions has been nothing short of spectacular, highlighted by his two goals against Melbourne Victory earlier in the season.

And what can you say about his magnificent strike in the A-League semi-final against the Roar on Friday night.

It was simply stunning and would have been on the highlight reel in any season.

Some were even suggesting it was the best A-League strike ever.

Ono might not have done it week in week out for the Wanderers, but when he does it is memorable and that is why in my opinion he deserves to be recognised.

He also needs some recognition for what he has done to promote the game in Japan.

Ono has been a fantastic ambassador for the game and for his country.

Others in with a shout tonight are Daniel McBreen and Melbourne Victory's Marcos Rojas.

McBreen scored 16 goals in the regular season, his best ever tally and led the line superbly for the Central Coast Mariners.

Rojas, meanwhile, had some memorable moments for the Victory and has struck up a fantastic partnership with veteran striker Archie Thompson.

It looks like the race for the Johnny Warren Medal might be a tight one but I will be barracking for Ono to be the No.1.

Here's hoping.


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