‘If you work hard dreams do come true’: proud Krishna revels in Johnny Warren Medal success

Growing up in a tiny village in Fiji, Roy Krishna would dream about one day making it as a professional footballer.

Becoming the best player in the Hyundai A-League was probably the furthest thing from his mind but the Wellington Phoenix striker did just that on Monday night.

Krishna took out the Johnny Warren Medal as the best player in the 2018/19 Season for his incredible performances to get the Phoenix into their first Finals Series in four years.

“Growing up in a village [in Fiji], I never dreamt of getting this [award],” Krishna said.

“First of all I want to thank my boss [now ex-Wellington coach Mark Rudan] for believing in me and getting the best out of me.

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“My captain [Andrew Durante] and my brothers for believing in me and making me work harder every week to achieve this.

“Also my wife and family for always being there for me, even when things don’t go your way they always encourage me to love the sport.

“It shows if you work hard dreams do come true.”

Krishna edged out Adelaide United skipper Isaias and Perth Glory duo Neil Kilkenny and Diego Castro to become the third Wellington Phoenix player to win the award.

It wasn’t Krishna’s only prize of the night, also taking home the Golden Boot for his 18 goals during the regular season.

Brisbane Roar’s Eric Bautheac won the Goal of the Year for his overhead kick stunner against the Central Coast Mariners in Round 20.

Tony Popovic was a worthy winner of the Hyundai A-League Coach of the Year for his exploits with Perth Glory
Perth Glory boss Tony Popovic

The other major Hyundai A-League award of the night went to Perth Glory boss Tony Popovic, who was named the league’s best coach.

“There’s no greater honour than being voted by your peers so thank you to them,” Popovic said.

“To Perth Glory, [owner] Tony Sage, [CEO] Tony Pignata, Jacob Burns and all the support staff, you have all played a major role in this.

“The players, ultimately it’s about them. To Diego [Castro] our leader, it’s a pleasure to coach you and the boys.”

Popovic has guided Glory to the premiership this season, while they will host Sydney FC in Sunday’s 2019 Hyundai A-League Grand Final.