Snap! Could be the reaction of most Perth soccer supporters! For the third consecutive year the State League Champion club is West Perth Macedonia, and the runners-up Spearwood Dalmatinac. Macedonia came into the State League after winning the Second Division in 1979, but it was not until 1983 that they made an impact at the top. Since then their record has been impeccable.
Spearwood Dalmatinac have been so close on so many occasions since 1978 that they must have thought they must always be the bridesmaids. As a matter of interest, here is their recent record. Runners-up on goal average 1978; champions 1979; runners-up on goal average 1980; champions 1982; runners-up by 8 points in 1983; runners-up by 1 point in 1984; and in 1985 they were runners-up by a goal difference of 5 points.
West Perth Macedonia headed the table from the first week of fixtures when they beat North Perth Croatia 1-0 and Spearwood Dalmatinac lost to East Fremantle Tricolore 1-3. But Macedonia then had two draws, one against Tricolore 0-0, and the other a fortnight later against Osborne Park Galeb 2-2. With the present points system this virtually meant a loss of four points which made a vast difference in those early days of the 1985 competition.
Meanwhile their rivals, Dalmatinac, in the same period had won three games against Kiev, Galeb and Balga and by the 22nd April had taken the lead and stayed there for a period of fourteen weeks. At one stage they were five points in front. The day of reckoning came on August 10th, when Macedonia narrowly beat Dalmatinac at Dalmatinac Park. A goal from Matt Pearson was not enough for the two scored by Sharp and Paul Tombides in a pretty rugged game. It put the two clubs level on points with only goal difference separating them, and that's how it finished at the end of the season.
It could easily be imagined that the State League 1985 was just a two horse race, but this was far from the truth, although it would seem that the discontinuance of the Top Four Cup took away some of the incentive for the third and fourth positions. Bayswater Inter did well to finish in third place and coach Dave Harrison must be congratulated for attaining so high a place in the league while fielding three under sixteens in his side.
East Fremantle Tricolore, against all the pundits, had a tremendous season under coach Tony Castiello, especially as it was his first season as coach with a State League club. In addition they had lost many of their top players at the commencement of the season. Perth Azzurri, with imports Huw Lake and Colin Irwin, were in contention for much of the season, but found the run home too much, and finished fifth.
Floreat Athena was half way down the table, but it was not considered good enough for the club, and coach John O'Connell was axed at the close of the season. Inglewood Kiev must take the trophy for the most inconsistent team in the league. They beat North Perth Croatia 6-0 on the small Velodrome pitch, and in their return match they were trounced 5-0.
Osborne Park Galeb finished in eighth place, after being in the relegation zone for most of the season. However, good wins against Tricolore, Kiev and Azzurri helped them home to safety. Forrestfield United breathed a sigh of relief when they beat Croatia 3-2 in the thirteenth game of the season. It proved very lucky for them as they turned the corner and kept out of trouble to the end.
The Federation's relegation system proved as exciting for those at the bottom of the ladder as did the fight to win at the top. North Perth Croatia were always in the bottom area and from early on seemed doomed for demotion. Balga's coach Ray Ilott was on tenterhooks as the season drew to a close, as they were only ahead of Croatia on goal difference.
But suddenly Kingsway Olympic appeared on the scene, in dire trouble, on 20 points with their last game to play against Macedonia who, to ensure the championship, had to win, and win well. The phones ran hot at the Federation office as everyone wanted to know the results. Croatia were opposed to Dalmatinac on that momentous Saturday! Well, at last the scores came in. Dalmatinac 3 Croatia 0; Macedonia 5 Olympic 1; Balga 3 Kiev 0. So the last game of the season decided all four places - who were the champions and who were the relegated clubs.
1985 was a big year for the D'Orsogna Cup. It was the 25th year since its inception and to mark the occasion, the sponsors raised their financial contribution to $10,000 for that year's competition. It not only confirmed D'Orsogna Bros as the sponsor with the longest association with soccer in WA but at that time they also became the biggest sponsor in monetary value, as their $10,000 was greater by $2,500 than that being received for the League competition. The D'Orsogna Cup is like a Pandora's Box, pouring out incredible results until the lid is locked tight by the State League around about Quarter Finals time.
1985 was no different as Morley Windmills 25-1 win over the Amateur country team, Narrogin, shows. This score sent the Morley Windmills officials scurrying around delving into the archives to see if this achievement was a record in the D'Orsogna Cup. The first round was fairfy quiet. La Fiama, who had at the last minute agreed to represent Geraldton, did well to win their second game of the competition when they beat Fourth Division Ashfield Dynamo. But the lid had not been closed yet and the soccer world were amazed when in the Second Round, lowly Fourth Division side Kalamunda eliminated State League Inglewood Kiev.
A disconsolate Jack Soer gave credit to Kalamunda and said they deserved their victory. Just to redress the situation, Tricolore and Macedonia steam-rolled over Perth City and Mirrabooka United respectively. Bayswater were taken to extra time by Whitford City before they made the next round and Yugal were cock-a-hoop after trouncing Morley Windmills, while Gosnells, 3-1 up at half time and coasting home, only just survived with a 4-3 win in extra time. Kalamunda's fortune deserted them when a rampant Budgie Middleton scored six of Olympic's eight goals against them.
One team each from the second and third division together with six from the State League made up the Quarter Finals and results were fairly predictable. Kingsway Olympic shared the ground with East Perth Vardar but would not share the Cup. Rockingham was all at sea against Athena, Azzurri won a cliff-hanger against Tricolore and after a tight game, victory to Dalmatinac over League champions, Macedonia.
Goran Gavranic was Dalmatinac's hero when he scored the only goal, in the 25th minute of extra time, in the semi-final against Kingsway Olympic. The following day, Athena and Azzurri met in a bruising game, emphasised by the five cautions issued by referee, Barry Harwood. It was the heavily bandaged Colin Irwin who settled matters when he scored a brilliant goal in the second half from a free kick taken by Huw Lake.
So came the day of the Final, played for the first time for many years at Bayswater Oval. The large crowd were not to see a classic game, but certainly a competitive one. The holders, Spearwood Dalmatinac, seemed the stronger and fitter side from the start and it came as no surprise when Kevin Elliott scored twice followed by a great goal by Mike Smith. It was Huw Lake who scored a consolation goal for Azzurri. Matt Pearson became the third Dalmatinac Captain in successive years to accept the coveted D'Orsogna Cup when Mr Peroni made the presentation on behalf of the D'Orsogna Bros.
Ron Bennett's Melville Toyota Magic came in as sponsors, and besides providing sponsorship for the prize money and advertising, they brought in some innovations which helped to provide the evenings with a little extra glamour and excitement. Each evening of the series saw a display of sleek modern autos being driven around the cycle track and special deals were offered to those spectators present.
In many cases they were taken up, and for once we were able to demonstrate that our sponsor was being supported. On some evenings children's cycles were given away for those who scored the most penalties, and on one never to be forgotten occasion, a car was given to the first person to reach the Toyota representative who stood in the middle of the field!
The soccer series consisted of the twelve State League clubs in two groups of six. After the preliminary rounds, Inglewood Kiev were at the top of Group A. They had won three and drawn two, with a resulting 11 points from a possible 15, scoring an average of three goals per game mainly through the brilliant form of Richard Paskins who put nine of the goals into the opposition nets.
Floreat Athena were second in the group with nine points, having ten goals for and.six against. West Perth Macedonia finished on the same number of points, but had an inferior goal average. Balga played five and lost five thus indicating their strength for the coming season - although that could be totally misleading as you will see when we dissect Group B.
Kingsway Olympic were top of Group B with four wins and one draw for a total of thirteen points. Their highest goal scorer was Paul Middleton who scored five times during the preliminaries. Olympic's other eight goals were shared amongst seven players. An inexplicable 4-4 draw with the eventual wooden-spooners Forrestfield United, and a 4-1 drubbing by Kingsway Olympic, put Spearwood Dalmatinac into second place in their Group. Perth Azzurri finished fourth behind East Fremantle Tricolore, who were followed by North Perth Croatia and Forrestfield Unitrd.
Although after full time no goals had been scored in the first semi-final between Floreat Athena and Spearwood Dalmatinac, it was still one of the best games that had been witnessed during the Night Series. The game was still goal less after two periods of extra time each way so it went to shoot-outs. After five attempts, only Elliott of Dalmatinac and Bruce of Athena had been successful, but then young Mike de Santos broke the deadlock and sent Floreat Athena through to the final.
Kingsway Olympic easily disposed of Inglewood Kiev with a result that can be aptly described as a thrashing. Deakin (2), Middleton and Sweeney did the damage, while the skills of Paskins and McCaffrey were not in evidence as they had been during the previous games.
Once again these two teams served up a feast of soccer suitable for the most discerning spectator in a game that had everything. It was Floreat Athena who managed that little extra which gave them final victory in extra time. In two teams where everyone was a hero, it seems churlish to single out any particular one. But McGettrick, Doropoulos, Thomas and Wormley scored for Athena. Kiev replied with Johnson, Paskins and McCaffrey.
John O'Connell led Tricolore into the winners' enclosure in 1984. Would he do it again with Athena in 1985? That was a question many people were asking. Well, they got their answer ninety minutes later when Floreat Athena were first up on the dais to receive the winners' trophy from Ron Bennett of Melville Toyota Magic. The game had been a typical Cup Final with good soccer at a premium.
It was an exciting match to watch and when Paul Middleton scored the first goal it looked as though the favourites, Kingsway, might win. Goals from Wormley and Evans, however, gave Athena the game and cause for their spectators to invade the pitch at the end to pay homage to their heroes.
Fairest and Best Award
The Peters Group of Companies kindly sponsored a Fairest and Best award for the Night Series and this was won by Gordon McCulloch of North Perth Croatia.
On Friday 11th October, some one hundred and thirty people sat at the round tables of the Merlin Hotel and enjoyed a magical evening as the 1985 Rothmans Gold Medal count was enacted. A function that once was considered an all male affair was glamorized by the presence of five lady secretaries from the State League and the staff of the Federation office. All those present were dressed suitably to pay respect to the Federation's State League Fairest & Best players, from whose ranks one would be revealed as the winner as the evening went on.
Special guest was the Hon. R. J. Williams, MLC, who has a special affinity with soccer, having served as Executive Vice President of the Federation from 1975 to 1978. Mr Jim Long, State Manager of Rothmans of Pall Mall and current President Joe Lacerenza shared the position of host to the gathering. Extra special guests were the recipients of the Ledger Medal, which was the forerunner of the Rothmans Gold Medal. The Ledger Medal was a coveted trophy in the 1950s. Those present were Frank McShane, brother of Bob; Ron Adair, who won the award for three consecutive years; his brother Noel, who won it in 1958 and Colin Beaman, the 1959 winner. Nostalgia was the order of the evening as the four met each other for the first time for many years.
Trevor Jenkins compered the evening as ably as he calls the races, rarely, if ever, misnaming a contestant or his colours. As the first course of a sumptuous meal came to an end, the first counts were shown on the magnificent Rothmans scoreboard, where Rothmans staff worked frantically changing the numbers. Trevor Jenkins drew our attention to the fact that Eric Marocchi with seven points was in front, with Ronnie Campbell, Matt Pearson, and John Davidson all close behind on six each.
During the main course the board changed once again. Campbell had jumped to fourteen, three ahead of Pearson, with Gary Marocchi now coming into the picture on nine. Johnny Davidson had moved to eight, and Eric Marocchi remained on seven. End of the main course and awaiting dessert and the caller advised us that Campbell was now on 19, Pearson on 15 and Davidson hovering on 14. Gary Marocchi and young Peter Connell of North Perth Croatia on 12 each were still in touch.
The penultimate scores came up during dessert, with Matt Pearson and Ronnie Campbell both on 24, Gary Marocchi on 20, and Johnny Davidson on 16. Most of us realised that John's score would not alter again, as he had retired from the game on the advice of his doctor. So comfortably settled and savouring the flavour of our coffee, an expectant hush came over the room as the compere once again mounted the rostrum.
Who would be the winner of the coveted Gold Medal, Marocchi, Campbell or Pearson? Certainly you could not have deliberately chosen a more worthy trio to epitomise all that is good in Australian soccer. So the figures turned agonizingly slowly - Matt Pearson, Spearwood Dalmatinac 24; Gary Marocchi, Inglewood Kiev 22; and a thunderous cheer went around the Merlin function centre as Trevor Jenkins called Ronnie Campbell, West Perth Macedonia, 27. No doubt it was a popular win with his peers, and Ronnie was virtually speechless as he acknowledged everybody's congratulations.
Leading Vote Getters
Ronnie Campbell (West Perth Macedonia) 27
Matt Pearson (Spearwood Dalmatinac) 24
Gary Marocchi (Inglewood Kiev) 22
G.Cole (Spearwood Dalmatinac) 17
Ricky Davis (Bayswater Inter) 16
Huw Lake* (Perth Azzurri) 16
Johnny Davidson (Perth Azzurri) 16
I.McAuley (Osborne Park Galeb) 15
Jeff Lewis (East Fremantle Tricolore) 14
Allan Pottier (West Perth Macedonia) 14
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