Two Seconds, No Regrets
Runners-up in the S-League and Singapore Cup finalists was about as good as any Singaporean could have it without winning a major national title, but this was of no consolation to Grilled Birds; The season interregnum has seen more than its fair share of talk show hosts suggest that the Birds could have been better served focusing on one or the other, but seeing that they were coming off a successful double season, one could hardly fault Eren Serpin
for angling for a repeat.
The head coach confirmed that he would not have changed his targeting of both trophies, at the end-of-season dinner. "Well done to Haha and Sarcastic Fringeheads, but we could well have done it. And, I might add, there's absolutely no reason why we can't, in the coming season!"
In truth, Grilled Birds' regulars remain comparatively in their prime, with some like Chan Ze Han
and Heng Dong Chu
not yet thirty. It was Dutchman Kalle ter Berg
who caught the fans' imagination for this term, though, and he might even have had a decent shot at the league Golden Boot, despite being a central midfielder with next to no set piece duties. An unfortunate injury late in the campaign put paid to that, but still left Ter Berg with twelve goals from fifteen starts.
This had him stand out from the pack to be crowned Grilled's Player of the Season, with Vikram Mudaliar
and Chan Ze Han
close seconds. Chu Xin Lee
and Wu Jinglong
gained honourable mentions too, from the supporters' votes.
It was, by consensus, a comparatively unexciting crop from the juniors, with the fans struggling to nominate any candidate that had struck the same nerve as past winners. Quite a few had been touted as having huge potential, but have since failed to impress, such as Heng Xin Kum and goalkeeper Cameron Law; Chew Kong Tian would eventually get the nod, for his professionalism as much as anything.
In contrast, the Buns and International both won their respective leagues, which however was more of simply fulfilling expectations, after their ignominious falls from grace. Saudi forward Ibrahim Zahran Al-Maashany
would be selected as the Bunnies' POTS out of a crowded field, with Lim Su Liang
earning the youth version, despite being yet to make his official debut, thanks to a lack of competition in his age group.
Grilled International gave it to Tibor Atzenhain
, after the German striker tied with Wang Hanxuan
as the league top scorer, and which Wang appeared more than happy to accept. There was of course no option but Chua Jun Long
for his second youth award, after he broke into the national U-20 side. Since Olaisen had the wherewithal to ration his club appearances, Chua has been able to juggle his commitments without overexerting himself.