Wairarapa United’s Daniel Allan, left, picked up two major awards at the club’s awards evening on Saturday. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

FOOTBALL

JAKE BELESKI
jake.beleski@age.co.nz

Determined defender Daniel Allan received high praise from his peers and coaches at Wairarapa United’s awards dinner on Saturday.

Allan was named players’ player of the year and coaches’ player of the year [most valuable player] for the men’s first team at the event.

The versatile defender showed his class in multiple positions this season, excelling in his usual role at the back but also stepping up as a midfielder when required.

Coach Phil Keinzley — who himself was made a life member of the club on the night along with Alistair Spierling, Rob Duncan and Ken Robertson — said if he could have had 11 Allans on the field every week, the club may have won everything.

“There were some players who were probably a bit more skilled, but Danny always gives 100 per cent and is consistent.

“It didn’t matter what position he had to play — he didn’t mind getting out of his comfort zone.”

His impact was so large that Keinzley said he probably could have started him as a striker or goalkeeper and he still would have done the job.

His consistent play was one thing, but the strength of his character was another aspect that Keinzley was impressed with.

“He doesn’t have an ago, which is something I like as well,” Keinzley said.

“He always gave a hand to get the balls or helping the youngsters put the nets away — he treated everybody as an equal, which really impressed me, and nothing was beneath him.”

Keinzley said he was a perfect role model for the younger players at the club, and also someone the older players could learn a lot from.

Striker Hamish Watson picked up the golden boot award for scoring the most goals for the men’s team, while Alex Britton was named most improved player and Scott Morris won youth player of the year.

It was a frustrating year for the men’s first team, who finished eighth in the Central League but managed to make the quarterfinals of the prestigious Chatham Cup knockout competition.

“You could have 1001 excuses — and they would all be good excuses — but I just didn’t think we delivered,” Keinzley said.

“We were just too inconsistent all year, but we showed what we were capable of in the Chatham Cup.”

The women’s first team enjoyed a remarkably successful season in 2018, finishing second in the Capital Football W-League and making the quarterfinals of the Kate Sheppard Cup knockout tournament.

Their players’ player of the year went to Meisha Boone, while the coaches’ player of the year/MVP award went to Molly Woodhead.

Anna McPhie picked up the golden boot for scoring the most goals, and all three of those girls capped off a great season by being named in the Capital Women squad that is currently contesting the National Women’s League competition.

Most improved player went to Florence MacIntyre, who is part of the Central squad in the National Women’s League.

Youth player of the year for the women’s first team went to Tui Dugan.

The contributions of many others were also celebrated on the night, including awards for the under-17s, men’s reserves, women’s reserves and laser teams.

Club awards were also presented, with Tony Sprowson winning supporter of the year and Paul Ifill taking home supporters’ player of the year.

Volunteer of the year was jointly won by Kevin Wilson and Wendy Turton.