Player of the Year Awards - 2012

Melbourne Heart FC will celebrate a breakthrough Hyundai A-League season and crown its best and fairest at the 2011/12 Player of the Year Awards on Thursday April 26.

Melbourne Heart FC will celebrate a breakthrough Hyundai A-League season and crown its best and fairest at the 2011/12 Player of the Year Awards on Thursday April 26.

Goalkeeper Clint Bolton is poised to face a stern challenge to defend his crown at the gala event, taking place at the Edge in Federation Square, with a bevy of challengers lying in wait.

Captain and midfield maestro Fred can claim to arguably being Heart-s most influential player this season, with the Red and White unbeaten since November in all matches featuring the Brazilian.

His form this season was recently recognised by his peers as he was named captain of the PFA-s A-League Team of the Season.

Fellow selections Aziz Behich and Michael Marrone have also been in fine form this season, earning international recognition in their own right.

Behich, 20, continued his remarkable elevation into the competition-s elite with a superb year at left back, winning Australian Under 23 selection throughout its ill-fated Olympic qualifying campaign.

Marrone meanwhile stunned the Australian football community when he was named to the Socceroos squad for its recent AFC World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia, despite the presence of overseas based defenders Lucas Neill, Sasa Ognenovski and Matthew Spiranovic.

A clear area of improvement in Heart-s performances this season lies in attack, much of which is the responsibility of striking duo Eli Babalj and Mate Dugandzic, who have combined for 16 goals this season.

Babalj, 20, has developed rapidly in recent months, shouldering significant responsibility in leading the Heart line, while scoring in timely fashion, while Dugandzic has fulfilled all expectations as a creative force on the wing, demonstrating why he has long been classed as a star of the future.

Among the other Heart players likely to figure heavily in the voting are midfielder Matt Thompson, whose purple patch through November and December helped spearhead the side-s charge as well as defender Curtis Good.

Good-s calm under fire and stunning transition to the professional game has hardly gone unnoticed, but to a certain degree, it still appears his contribution has been somewhat underrated.

The Player of the Year medal isn-t the only prize set to be handed out on the evening, with the John Aloisi Golden Boot Award, Clubman Award and Supporters Player of the Year, among the other awards to be announced.

Details Player of the Year Awards Thursday 26 April 7pm - 10pm The Edge, Federation Square To purchase tickets, please contact Rebecca May on 03 9457 1765 or at rebecca.may@melbourneheartfc.com.au