Swan Lager's involvement in soccer for the first time as sponsor seemed to stimulate the game and helped to produce a brand of soccer that was invigorating to everyone who savoured the brew. Almost to the end of the competition, four or five teams were still in with a chance to take off the Championship. That West Perth Macedonia did it for the second year in succession is a story of its own.
Macedonia began as they had finished the previous year, looking like the most professional side in the league when they defeated Bayswater Inter by four goals to two in the opening match. They continued on for four games without defeat, averaging over four goals per game. Then on the 28th April they met Floreat Athena who had also maintained an undefeated run up to that date. With Alan Vest at the helm, Athena lowered Macedonia's colours on their own ground when Ricky Davis scored the only goal of the game.
At this stage, with four games having been played, supporters of Spearwood Dalmatinac, Perth Azzurri and Gosnells City were feeling concern as none of those teams had yet won a game, although Dalmatinac had had two drawn matches, and Azzurri three. In the next eight games, Macies stuggled to beat Kingsway Olympic by three goals to two, but never won another game in that period, being beaten on the way by low-lying teams such as Gosnells and Azzurri.
The top position on the Swan Lager League table over the next few weeks was shared by Inglewood Kiev, Athena and Bayswater Inter. Then suddenly Spearwood Dalmatinac were in the top three after an atrocious beginning. They had been quietly been making their way up the ladder with a series of wins which included a six nil defeat of Kwinana United, a feat which they nearly repeated in the return game at Kelly Park when Edwards scored one goal to avert the whitewash. Kevin Elliott scored five goals in that game and two in the previous meeting and it now placed Dallies in a good position to take off the League.
At the 30th June West Perth Macedonia were in sixth position and with over half of the fixtures behind them it looked as though they might be out of the reckoning, but from then on they did not drop another point. On the way they also had their big wins, including a seven one victory over Osborne Park Galeb and then an unprecedented nine nil thrashing of Inglewood Kiev on Sunday 5th August, when Paul Tombides scored five and Andy Sharp had a hat trick.
But what about the other teams? Well, poor Gosnells won but one game, ironically against the eventual champions, when they beat Macedonia 2-1 at Inglewood on 25th May. Perth Azzurri, being coached by Gary Marocchi, finished in tenth position and at one stage must have been afraid of relegation. However, wins against Kiev and Macedonia were face-savers for them.
Kwinana United began well and were in fourth place after just two games, but then the rot set in and after five games they dropped to one from the bottom and virtually remained there for the rest of the season. Osborne Park Galeb had nine drawn games and five wins during the course of the season, so on nine occasions came close to taking full points. Inglewood Kiev in second place on the 8th July then went six games without a win, and though beating Athena and Kwinana in the last games of the season, it was not enough to get them into the top four.
Kingsway Olympic promised so much and yet never once did they get into the Top Four. Coach Bill Murray must have been disappointed that they stuck around the middle of the table, and that is where they finished at the end. East Fremantle Tricolore got hammered five nil by Floreat Athena on 9th June, a confidence-sapping result you would think, but in their very next fixture they did exactly the same thing to Inglewood Kiev, and followed it up with a five one thrashing of Bayswater Inter.
Needless to say it was at this time that Peter Murphy joined East Fremantle Tricolore and his name began to, appear on the score sheets. His presence no doubt assured that Tricolore made the Top Four. North Perth Croatia had a good season, especially as they played for half the year without a recognised coach in charge. They finished in sixth place and every club above them except Dalmatinac lost more games than they did, accumulating ten draws throughout the season.
When Alan Vest left Perth early in the season it was thought that would be the end of Athena's aspirations for honours in 1984. Mike Brennan took over as player-coach and broke his leg in the very first game he played in his new position. Surely Athena would not be able to rise above these two catastrophies, but they rallied their forces and did well to go on and win the Top Four Cup and be finalists in the D'Orsogna Cup.
Bayswater Inter did very well to achieve fifth position after only one season in the State League. Right at the top it looked like a repeat of 1983. Champions West Perth Macedonia, 47 points; runners-up Spearwood Dalmatinac, 46 points. Kevin Elliott scored 25 goals and got the Golden Boot from Hans Merks Motors. Championship trophies were presented at a function at the Swan Brewery's Canning Vale hospitality room, which was a most enjoyable conclusion to a very exciting season.
Without a doubt, the D'Orsogna Cup gives an opportunity to all clubs to experience a variety of soccer . Take country team Albany, this year. In pursuit of success in the D'Orsogna Cup, they travelled some 3,564 kilometers. Their first game was a win against Eastern Goldfields. They were then drawn against Amateur Association club Mandurah, whom they defeated by two goals to one. Finally, a long trek to the King sway Reserve where their aspirations were thwarted by State League club Kingsway Olympic whose extra skills and fitness saw them through for a 3-1 win.
Restrictions by some shires on the use of their grounds until the second week in April caused some problems to start with, but eventually all the preliminaries were finalised. Kelmscott, the Second Division side just taken over by coach Ernie Todd, started off by beating Swan Cracovia in the first round and in the next put paid to State Leaguers, Tricolore, by beating them 2-1 at Wauhop Park. But their advance was halted when they met Bill Murray's Olympic Kingsway in fine form, and goals by Bates (2), Budgie Middleton (1) and a brilliant solo effort by Willie Herd late in the second half sealed Kelmscott's fate, even though they fought back valiantly in the closing minutes to score two goals through Parker and Smith.
Spearwood Dalmatinac showed no neighbourliness towards Cockburn United when they thrashed them by seven goals to one. Kevin Elliott scored four, Gavranic two and Mike Smith one to make up their total, and Cockburn veteran Tony Thorpe scored his side's consolation goal. On the Sunday following, Azzurri went down to Second Division Forrestfield United when a solitary goal by John Thornley was sufficient to see them crash out. Floreat Athena, at that time top of the State League, indicated that it wasa deserved position when they beat Macedonia 2-1. Wormley and Davis were the goal scorers for Athena, whilst Macedonia replied when Jim Davies forced the ball over the goal line.
The semi-finals proved to be exciting contests. The first at the W.A. Yugoslav Club between Spearwood Dalmatinac and Kingsway Olympic had to be decided by penalties after a tense ninety minutes play with no score kept the crowd on edge throughout the afternoon. Dalmatinac ran out winners by four goals to three, rather an inglorious way to conclude a most entertaining game. At Dalmatinac Park the following day, the second semi-final was contested between the leader of the Second Division and a team holding a similar position in the State League. It was a tough game with no quarter given by either side, and in the closing minutes just after Paul Wormley had scored his second goal to break the deadlock of a 1-1 draw, nearly every player on the field became involved in an all-out brawl. The only players not to throw a punch seemed to be Micky Palmer who was too far away and Phil Middleton who was sitting on the bench having a rest.
Came the final at the Inglewood Kiev Soccer Ground, and compared with the excitement of the semi-finals the Grand Final was something of an anticlimax. The midfielders of both sides dominated the play, giving opposing strikers little opportunity to score. Finally it was young Frank Vesich, whom coach John Davies had turned from a full-back into a mid-field player with specific instructions to neutralise the danger of Athena's Ricky Davis, who rose to the task admirably and scored the solitary goal that gave Spearwood Dalmatinac the D'Orsogna Cup for the second year in succession.
Coca Cola is synonymous with youth, so it was fitting that most of the teams playing in the '84 Coca Cola Night Series concentrated on youth. Tricolore, Azzurri, Kingsway Olympic and many more put their faith in their younger players as they came out to play the first games of the 1984 series. After each team had played one game, only four had wins. They were Tricolore, Macedonia, North Perth Croatia and Bayswater Inter and only seven goals were scored in the six games with two of the matches concluding on a nil-nil draw basis.
So the second round concluded and we saw that only Bayswater and Macedonia had full points, the latter team scoring a six nil victory on luckless Gosnells City, and Bayswater with a three nil victory over Dalmatinacs virtually putting that team out of the competition. Twenty-three goals were scored which must have made the spectators happy.
Tricolore, in the final round, emulated Macedonia's feat accomplished two days previously, when they put six past Kwinana United with no reply. In Group A, Tricolore were at the top with five points, West Perth Macedonia were way out ahead in Group B with six points, and in Group C Bayswater were just one point in front of Kiev whose superior goal average overall gave them fourth place in the Top Four.
In the first semi-final, Inglewood Kiev, winners of the Night Series in 1983, faced East Fremantle Tricolore, with some confidence until their centre defender Mark Johnson was sent off. Tricolore took advantage and scored first through Jeff Lewis, and although Kiev equalised in the second half, a goal by Jamie McGettrick put the issue beyond doubt.
The second semi-final, in which Macedonia beat Bayswater with a typical powerhouse play, saw the strong running and accurate shooting of Mike O'Donoghue outshine the brilliance of Paul Tombides, but it was these two players who scored the goals, two and one respectively with Rene DeKoning scoring for Bayswater Inter.
Two clubs of Italian origin were then opposed in the Preliminary Final. Bayswater Inter, newly promoted to the State League, had not yet fully formulated their squad for 1984, but they put up a terrific fight against East Fremantle Tricolore. However, goals from that experienced player Jeff Lewis at young Frank Mariano, were blows for which they had no answer.
West Perth Macedonia were in the second Grand Final in succession. Would this be the year for them? Inglewood Kiev had beaten them 1-0 the previous year in extra time. Well, it was almost a case of history repeating itself, for the League Champions were once again to lose out. After a very exciting game it was a goal by young Lou Collova which sealed their fate, and it was John O'Connell's babes who went up to deservedly receive the cup from Mike Ilott of Coca-Cola.
TOP FOUR PLAY-OFFS
Against all predictions, the Top Four Cup still has considerable appeal to the local soccer fans; quite large crowds turned up at all the matches in this year's State League competitions. The First Semi-Final, played at Kingsway Olympic's ground was between Floreat Athena and East Fremantle Tricolore. It was a dour struggle between two teams who looked as though they had been through a hard season. Paul Wormley found the target for Athena 24 minutes after the commencement of the game and although Tricolore tried everything they could from then on, they just could not get past Chris Barbas in the Athena goal.
The next day down at Wauhop Park, West Perth Macedonia faced arch rivals Spearwood Dalmatinac on an arena which must be filled with traumatic memories for both clubs. Nevertheless they served up an exciting match full of incident, which kept Referee Ernie Lee on his toes. The result was decided when Chris Proctor shot into the goal from 15 metres to score the only goal of the game and so put Macedonia into the Grand Final.
The Preliminary Final was staged at Inglewood Kiev's ground, and a large crowd turned out to see the clash between Athena and Dalmatinac. If chances were goals, Spearwood would have been home and hosed by half time and the second half would have been merely perfunctory. Athena's John Quinn cleverly nodded a cross into the penalty area where Dave Deakin gleefully gathered up the opportunity to put his team one up. But without Keven Elliott, who was absent through injury, Dallies could have stayed there all night without scoring.
Athena, the underdogs, third in the league, were not given much chance against the mighty Macedonia, league champions for the second year in succession and playing at full strength on virtually their home ground. But forget the pundits - let us leave it to the players on both sides, who provided one of the best games ever seen in W.A. Everyone was astounded to see the scoreboard after thirteen minutes reading Athena 2 Macedonia 0. But it was true. Big Paul Wormley had put Athena ahead in the opening minutes and just twelve minutes later the ageless John Ouinn plotted the ball past John Alavakis.
It was end to end stuff and just before the interval, Ross McGinn pulled one goal back for Macedonia, and then in the 50th minute Andy Sharpe put them level with a fine goal. In normal circumstances it would have been expected that Athena would wilt under the continuous pressure, but they were not done yet, and in the 59th minute Alan Bourton scored with a brilliant header from a powerful corner. The appreciative crowd stayed behind to applaud both teams as they received their trophies from the president of the Soccer Federation, Mr Joe Lacerenza.
It was a glittering occasion on 10th October as some 150 members of the Western Australian soccer fraternity packed the Sheraton's Golden Ballroom to witness the counting of the votes in the 1984 Rothmans Gold Medal Award. Mr Ray O'Connor, former Premier of Western Australia was there, as was Mr John Williams, M.L.C., former Vice-President of the Soccer Federation. Coaches, presidents, secretaries, players, board members and Life Members all mingled together in a very congenial atmosphere for the counting of the votes which for the first time in the history of the award, were all completely secret. In previous years only the last four weeks of games were kept under seal until the night of the presentation of the Gold Medal.
Graham Shenton was the MC for the evening and handled it in the same deft manner as he calls the races, in no way imposing his personality on the proceedings to the detriment of the occasion, but being suitably witty and eloquent to do justice to what, after all, for most people was a very serious and nail-biting event. Rothmans staff were in evidence to work the giant scoreboard, and Mr Jim Long, state manager for the Sponsor, ably shared the mantle of host with Mr Joe Lacerenza, president of the Soccer Federation.
During the excellent meal, voting was brought up to date between the courses, and by the time coffee was served, three tallies had been recorded to make it apparent that four players were at the top, all on twenty points. These were Mark Gray (Dalmatinac), Ricky Davis (Athena), John Carlin (Croatia) and Jamie McGettrick (Tricolore). With only four rounds still to be counted, it was almost a certainty that the winner would come from one of this four, although there seemed to be other players still within striking distance.
Tony Pragnell (Galeb) at this stage was on sixteen points, but did not score another point. Gary Marocchi (Azzurri) had thirteen points to his name, but only added two more when they played Gosnells City. Graham Normanton, also of Azzurri, was on fifteen, and unfortunately stayed there until the end. Norrie Sutton, winner in 1982, also polled fifteen votes. Ronnie Campbell and Harry Long were probably seen to be in with a chance but as the extra pressure of the later games was applied, with each club vying for honours or endeavouring to avoid relegation, so recognition by the referees became harder to achieve.
As Graham Shenton rose to make the final announcement an expectant hush fell over the room and then almost abruptly the result was known - McGettrick 22, Carlin 22, Davis 23 and the Gold Medallist for 1984, Mark Gray of Spearwood Dalmatinac, with 29 votes! Mark just had time to shake hands with Ricky Davis and murmur "hard luck, Ricky" as he passed him on his way to receive his medal from Mr Ray O'Connor. It was a typical example of Gray's general demeanour that he was able to commiserate with Ricky Davis as this was the second year running that he had come second, coincidentally by the same number of votes as when he lost to Brent Atherton in 1983.
During the course of the season, 138 players scored points in the Rothmans Gold Medal Award. Only nineteen got into double figures and if scoring does seem low this year, we must remember that this is the first year club coaches have not had the responsibility of casting votes for players in the opposing team.
The moment that the formalities of the presentation were over, Mark was approached by Federation secretary Ted Gray with the information that he would be playing in the Rothmans Gold Medallists 5-a-side team on the following evening. This team, consisting of former medallists Lee Adam, Norrie Sutton, Gordon Todd, Brent Atherton, David Jones and Ray Ilott (plus Mark Gray) reached the Grand Final of the Lords Indoor 5-a-side Competition, but were beaten by a team from Inglewood Kiev.
Back to the www.footballwa.net Past Seasons Index
This page was last updated on the 24th February 2006