Johnny Warren Medallists: where are they now?

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With another A-League season almost over,The Football Sack thought it would be fun to look back at previous winners of the Johnny Warren Medal (JWM) and see where their successful careers have taken them.

The JWM is awarded to the best player of the season, as voted on by a voting panel of a technical football expert, a football media representative, a former professional player representative and a combined vote from the match officials.

It was first introduced in the 1989/90 NSL season in honour of former Socceroos captain and strong promoter of Australian football, Johnny Warren.

Scott Chipperfield

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Chipperfield won the Johnny Warren Medal back-to-back with the Wollongong Wolves in 1999/2000 and again in 2000/01. Scoring 50 goals in 131 games for the Wolves, Chipperfield secured a move to FC Basel where he enjoyed great success, winning the Swiss Super League seven times, and the Swiss Cup six times.

From there, international success followed, earning a call-up to two FIFA World Cups with the Socceroos in 2006 and 2010. He was also inducted in the FFA Hall of Fame in 2012.

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Now, 43-year-old Chipperfield has returned to where it all began, coaching the Illawarra Stingrays in the Women’s NPL. They are currently equal second, one point behind Sydney University in first.

Bobby Despotovski

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The first JWM winner in the A-League. Despotovski earned the award during the 2005/06 season with Perth Glory. The Perth-born striker has played over 230 games for the Glory since 1996, scoring 114 goals.

After leaving the Glory in 2007, Despotovski signed with Western Australian NPL club Inglewood United, where he began coaching.

Now, 47-year-old Despotovski is the coach of the Perth Glory W-League squad, who this year finished fourth in the regular season and runners up in the finals, losing 4-2 to Sydney FC in the 2019 W-League Grand Final.

Marcos Flores

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Flores won the JWM for his excellent performances with Adelaide United in the 2010/11 A-League season. The Argentine midfielder also had stints with fellow A-League Clubs Melbourne Victory, Central Coast Mariners and Newcastle Jets, but Flores never really found the same form he did whilst he was at Adelaide.

Now, Flores has returned to the ‘City of Churches’, playing for South Australian NPL club Adelaide City at the age of 33.

Marco Rojas

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Rojas became the second Kiwi to win the JWM in the 2012/13 A-League season with the Melbourne Victory. Rojas was a stand-out for the Victory in his two stints with the club.

On top of the JWM, Rojas has also won the A-League Young Footballer of the Year in 2012/13 and was a part of the A-League PFA Team of the Season that same year.

Now, the 27-year-old (how the hell is he still only 27?!) is plying his trade with Danish Superliga club SønderjyskE Fodbold.

Adrian Mierzejewski

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If he stayed longer, he could have gone down as the best ever. That’s how good he was during the 2017/18 season with Sydney FC, and that’s why he won the JWM.

Mierzejewski was wanting to stay with Sydney FC, but his wage demands could not be met by the club without making him a marquee. Melbourne Victory had similar issues with their star import Leroy George the same season.

Now, Mierzejewski is playing in the Chinese Super League with Chongqing Lifan, who are currently in fourth place on the ladder.

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Cameron Smith
Football writer and radio presenter. Loves everything football (well, except Italian's diving since '06).