NEWCASTLE: Sunday, September 17, 2017

Australia’s footballers pay tribute to Australia’s greatest ever Matilda Cheryl Salisbury at the 2017 Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) Players’ Awards.

Hosted in Newcastle ahead of the Matildas clash with Brazil, the gala event saw the outstanding achievements of the current generation of PFA members also honoured.

Proudly supported by PFA Major Partner LUCRF Super and Travellers Choice, the major award winners were:

>> Cheryl Salisbury, PFA Alex Tobin OAM Medal;

>> Aaron Mooy, PFA Men’s Footballer of the Year;

>> Sam Kerr, PFA Women’s Footballer of the Year;

>> Alex Gersbach, PFA Harry Kewell Medallist

>> Alex Chidiac, PFA Young Women’s Footballer of the Year; and

>> Robbie Cornthwaite, PFA Community Medallist.

Salisbury said she was delighted to receive the Alex Tobin Medal and honoured to be joining the likes of Craig Johnston, Johnny Warren and Mark Viduka as a recipient of the players’ highest honour.

“I’m very proud to be the first female to win the award and to receive it in my home town with my family and friends with me was a privilege,” said Salisbury.

“After having been out of the sport for close to 10 years to be recognised by the current generation is a phenomenal thing.”

Voted on by all of the PFA’s female members, Sam Kerr’s scintillating form for club and country sees her win her second PFA Women’s Footballer of the Year award, having first won the award in 2013.

“To be voted by your fellow players as the PFA Footballer of the Year is a huge honour,” said Kerr. “I have been fortunate to enjoy so many great experiences with the Matildas and with my clubs over the past 12 months and this just tops it off.

“The respect of your peers means so much and I’m very thankful to my teammates and everyone that voted for me.”

Aaron Mooy becomes the first player to be named as the PFA Men’s Footballer of the Year twice, after winning the winning the award in 2016.

“To become the first player to win the award twice is extremely humbling,” said Mooy. “These awards are extra special to players because they are voted by your peers.

“I’m very thankful for the support of my family, my club and my teammates at Huddersfield and with the Socceroos and all the players who voted for me. It was a great season and I’m very proud to have been named as the PFA Men’s Footballer of the Year.”

Recognising the nation’s most outstanding under 21 female footballer, Chidiac said she was delighted to have been selected by her peers as the first PFA Young Women’s Footballer of the Year.

“To be named as the as the inaugural PFA Young Women’s Footballer of the Year means so much to me especially as my fellow nominees all had great seasons. To win an award voted by the people you play with and against is something all players value very highly.”

Celebrating the achievements of an under 23 footballer playing in the A-League or an Australian based overseas, Gersbach said he was thrilled to win the PFA Harry Kewell Medal.

“To join the likes of Mat Ryan and Robbie Kruse as a PFA Harry Kewell Medallist is a huge honour and one I’m very proud of,” said Gersbach.

“To be chosen by the players to win an award that is named after someone who inspired you is very special. The 2016/17 season was a great year for me at Rosenborg and with the national team and this honour has made it even more so.”

For the first time the PFA paid tribute to players doing work in the community through the establishment of the PFA Community Medal, with Western Sydney Wanderers captain and PFA delegate Robbie Cornthwaite named as the inaugural recipient due to his charity work with Beards of Hope.

“Beards of Hope provides invaluable Pregnancy and Infant Loss support,” said Cornthwaite.  “The reason I wanted to help raise money is so that men in my situation have somewhere to turn if they need to.

“I still have moments when it all comes back to me and I’m not sure how long that will last. I’m hugely honoured to be have been voted by the players as the inaugural PFA Community Medallist.”