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Milos Ninkovic leads list of contenders for A-League Player of the Year

Milos Ninkovic's biggest barrier to claiming the Johnny Warren Medal could be his A-League premiership-winning teammates.

The Serbian is a deserved favourite to win the award for the A-League's best performed player at the Dolan Warren Awards ceremony in Sydney on Monday night.

Sydney's No. 10 has been a sight to see this season, scoring nine goals and laying off 10, displaying equal parts ruthlessness and grace in the Sky Blues midfield.

But in a team full of match-winners, he's no guarantee to win the prize.

Alex Brosque, Bobo and Filip Holosko have all put in man-of-the-match performances in a sky blue shirt and will poll well.

And while no player from the back half of the field has ever won the prize, Sydney FC defenders -- including Rhyan Grant, Alex Wilkinson and goalkeeper Danny Vukovic -- will all pick up votes too.

Could it be enough to prevent the 32-year-old winning?

It's the fate that befell Aaron Mooy last season.

Perth wizard Diego Castro pipped Mooy to the award by one vote despite the Socceroo's out-of-the-box campaign.

Melbourne City teammate Bruno Fornaroli's heavy polling stopped Mooy tallying the votes he needed to win.

Castro will again contend. The Spanish playmaker is the heartbeat of Glory's attack.

Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers will also have strong performers.

While Besart Berisha claimed his first golden boot award in six seasons -- sharing with Brisbane Roar's Jamie Maclaren -- it's two of his Victory teammates that are likely to be challenging for the Medal.

No man was involved in more goals this season than 2012-13 winner Marco Rojas (12 goals, 11 assists), while Socceroo James Troisi's eye-catching displays from attacking midfield could also be rewarded.

Wanderers whiz Nico Martinez is also an outside shot, given his strong performances in Western Sydney's wins.

Referees, technical experts, former players and media all vote on a 3-2-1 basis for the best players in match. Those votes are aggregated across the 27-round season to produce a champion.

The awards night will also crown a young player of the year, a coach of the year, goalkeeper of the year and referee of the year for both the A-League and W-League among other prizes.

Contenders

Diego Castro (Perth Glory) -- 12 goals, six assists

Last year's winner has arguably improved on last season, powering the Glory into the final four. The Spaniard is a fan favourite and would be the first back-to-back winner in A-League history.

Nico Martinez (Western Sydney Wanderers) -- Four goals, eight assists

The Argentinian plays as if he has the ball on a string. A lack of scoring power could be his downfall but no one who has witnessed Martinez play this season is in doubt as to his ability.

Milos Ninkovic (Sydney FC) -- Nine goals, 10 assists

Simply the best player in the best team. But under the 3-2-1 voting system, that doesn't always win you the medal. The Serbian would be Sydney FC's first winner and a very worthy one at that.

Marco Rojas (Melbourne Victory) -- 12 goals, 11 assists

The "Kiwi Messi" says he's had a better season than his 2012-13 that won him the honour. Rojas hasn't always produced when the Victory have needed him this campaign but when on song, is one of the league's best.

James Troisi (Melbourne Victory) -- Six goals, six assists

Troisi's form for the Victory has won him a place back in the Socceroos setup and could net him this honour. Always a presence despite not always hitting the back of the net.

Danny Vukovic (Sydney FC) -- 15 clean sheets

Vukovic single-handedly turned matches for Sydney FC in one of the best campaigns by a goalkeeper in recent memory. An astonishing 15 clean sheets is a new A-League record.

Previous Johnny Warren Medallists

2015-16: Diego Castro (Perth Glory)
2014-15: Nathan Burns (Wellington Phoenix)
2013-14: Thomas Broich (Brisbane Roar)
2012-13: Marco Rojas (Melbourne Victory)
2011-12: Thomas Broich (Brisbane Roar)
2010-11: Marcos Flores (Adelaide United)
2009-10: Carlos Hernandez (Melbourne Victory)
2008-09: Shane Smeltz (Wellington Phoenix)
2007-08: Joel Griffiths (Newcastle Jets)
2006-07: Nick Carle (Newcastle Jets)
2005-06: Bobby Despotovski (Perth Glory)