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Mariners ace Nisbet clinches Johnny Warren Medal

Victorious Central Coast star Josh Nisbet has capped a stunning campaign by claiming the Johnny Warren Medal as the A-League Men player of the season.

Nisbet polled 36 votes ahead of Melbourne Victory striker Bruno Fornaroli (29) and Wellington Phoenix's Kosta Barbarouses (28).

The 24-year-old Mariners midfielder notched three goals and nine assists across the regular season, with his form leading to his first Socceroos cap in March.

Nisbet was presented the award after the Mariners' 3-1 grand final win over Melbourne Victory on Saturday at Industree Group Stadium.

"I didn't think I had a great end to the season. I thought (Sydney FC striker) Joe Lolley was going to get it," Nisbet said.

"When I first came on, I was a little bit nervous and just wanted to make sure I survived in the league.

"As you play more games, you feel more confident and I just have a lot of fun. That's really what I put it down to.

Nisbet delight
Nisbet celebrating a Miguel Di Pizio goal in the grand final. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS)

Mariners teammate and grand final man-of-the-match Ryan Edmondson lauded Nisbet's dedication to his craft.

Nisbet, who stands at 160cm, was written off for being too small but he's consistently proved naysayers wrong.

"He's a special player we've got. He's a special, special player," Edmondson said.

"It's a kudos to him because it's not luck whatsoever. He's in the right place, at the right time'.

"He works his hardest every day. It doesn't matter whether we're either coming in for a recovery day or just a normal training day. He'll do everything to the best of his ability.

"It shows when he goes up onto the pitch. He's absolutely everywhere. I've never seen someone so small cover so much ground. It's mental."

Nisbet is the Mariners' first Johnny Warren Medal winner and his gong came after the vote for the league's young footballer award was split for the first time.

Wellington goalkeeper Alex Paulsen and Adelaide's Bayern Munich-bound winger Nestory Irankunda shared the award.

Paulsen, 21, was also named goalkeeper of the year after his breakout season in which he conceded just 26 goals, the least of any keeper in the home-and-away series.

Central Coast boss Mark Jackson claimed the coach of the year award.

Under the first-year coach, the Mariners turned around their 0-4 start to the 2023/24 campaign to win the premiers' plate, claim back-to-back championships and become the first Australian club to win the AFC Cup.

2023-24 JOHNNY WARREN MEDAL ROLL OF HONOUR:

*Johnny Warren Medal: Josh Nisbet (Central Coast Mariners).

*Young footballer of the year: Nestory Irankunda (Adelaide United)/Alex Paulsen (Wellington Phoenix)

*Coach of the year: Mark Jackson (Central Coast Mariners)

*Golden Boot: Adam Taggart (Perth Glory)

*Golden Glove: Alex Paulsen (Wellington Phoenix)