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Suburbs Stars Recognised In NPWL Honours
by Jeremy Ruane
The impressive efforts of Eastern Suburbs in 2017 were recognised following the National Women's Knockout Cup Final on September 10, when a couple of the recipients were presented with trophies to mark their outstanding efforts over the course of a season in which "The Lilywhites" finished runners-up in both league and cup.

Voting for the Lotto Northern Premier Women's League's Player of the Year award has yet to commence, while the leading goalscorer, Suburbs'  Aimee Phillips, can't be confirmed as the season's Golden Boot until the final game of the campaign takes place, between Claudelands Rovers and Hamilton Wanderers at Galloway Park on September 24.

The media awards have been decided, however, with the highly coveted NPWL Young Player of the Year award, first presented in 1992 but a media-determined honour since 2007, going this year to Eastern Suburbs' captain, Rebekah Van Dort, who led her team so ably throughout the season.

Behind her, Corina Brown has been outstanding in goal for "The Lilywhites", and is a deserving co-winner of the NPWL Most Improved Player award, a title she shares with team-mate Tayla O'Brien, whose form has been such that she's forced her way back into national team consideration.

The third media award, The Jeremy Ruane Trophy, recognises Meritorious Achievement by a team or individual from women's football's northern region.

The winner this year is Katie Rood, for not only becoming the outright holder of the individual goalscoring record in the National Women's Knockout Cup, but for earning herself a professional contract with Italian giants Juventus.

It's not every season you see a player gracing the Lotto Northern Premier Women's League on one Sunday, then trialing for one of the world's most widely recognised football clubs a week later!

The league line-up for next season is one game closer to being decided after Papakura City and Tauranga City United fought out a scoreless draw in the first leg of their promotion play-off tussle at McLennan Park. The second leg takes place at Wharepai Domain next Sunday.

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