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W-League recognised on level playing field as FFA awards combined and renamed

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IT is only fitting that during a time when the Matildas are in top form, Football Federation Australia decided to combine and rename their annual awards to the Dolan Warren Awards and give the women’s game the same level of recognition as the men’s.

Amy Duggan and Adam Peacock will the host the new-look FFA awards night. Picture: Phil Hillyard

It is the first time the awards have been named to reflect the men’s and women’s medals together.

On Tuesday night, former Matilda and Fox Sports’ W-League host Amy Duggan will co-host the awards alongside Adam Peacock and says having the two presenters is fitting for how the leagues have been broadcast throughout the season and to be in line with the newly named awards night.

Melbourne City’s Larissa Crummer is nominated for young footballer of the year and is the golden boot winner.

“It’s really nice, Adam hosts a lot of the men’s football and I’ve done the women’s season so to have us together and do this with someone who loves the sport; it’s nice to have an ex-player and they’ll have Mark Bosnich and Robbie and a couple of ex-Socceroos up on stage too,” Duggan said.

“It’s wonderful to see the levels of football; the same level being recognised on the same stage at on the same night and all together.

“I’m a massive advocate of a level playing field. It’s how it should have always been and it’s fantastic to see it.”

In her first season hosting the W-League, Duggan says it’s been incredible to be able to see the improved professionalism in the women’s game compared to when she played for the Matildas between 1997 and 2004, pointing out that so many of Australia’s players go from the domestic league to competitions overseas is testament to the quality of football they are capable of playing

“The game has changed so much … the game is so skilful and so fast and they’re so fit. It’s fantastic to watch,” Duggan said.

Brisbane Roar’s Angela Beard is also nominated for young footballer of the year.

“It’s good quality football. There’s lots of passing, lots of good crosses, lots of goals — that was fantastic this year and that’s what fans want to see. They want to see their teams win but they want to see good football and they want to see goals.

“We’re churning out players who are competing in the best competitions in the world.

“We’ve got a whole lot of our Matildas girls playing in the American league, we have girls playing all over Asia, in Korea and Japan, so we’re exporting our product.

“There’s no greater selling point for the game than when you’re players are wanted in some of the best leagues in the world.”

As for picking who may take out some of the awards on Tuesday, Duggan can’t split the talent, especially when it comes to the main prize — the Julie Dolan Medal.

Melbourne City should feature heavily at the awards after winning the W-League grand final.

“I don’t even know if I want to give a tip! There were some standout performances and clearly Melbourne City would be some of the frontrunners for a lot of those awards because they picked up the premier’s plate they went through the season undefeated they scored the most goals, all of those things were fantastic but there were some wonderful battles out there and there were some wonderful stand-alone players as well,” she said.

“I don’t want to really pick one, but say good luck and separating them would be really difficult after some amazing performances by some fantastic players throughout the season.”

The Dolan Warren Medal is broadcast exclusively on Fox Sports 505 from 7pm Tuesday night.

© 2016 The Daily Telegraph | This article was written by Fiona Bollen and first appeared on The Daily Telegraph on 26 April 2016.

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