Prior to 1978 you will find no mention of Spearwood Dalmatinac in State League honours, bbt since then they have had a tremendous run. In 1978 they were runners up to Kingsway Olympic with only goal average deciding the eventual winners. In 1979 they won the Championship and were runners up again in 1980, Azzurri were on top in 1981 from Forrestfield United, but in the ensuing five years the competition has been dominated by Dalmatinac and their arch rivals, Macedonia.
The Stirling club had a tremendous run, winning the cherished league trophy three times in a row, in the years '83, '84, and '85 with Spearwood being runners up the same number of times. But in 1986, Spearwood Dalmatinac came to the fore again when they clinched the title with a nine point win over Macedonia.
The Dalies got off to an inglorious start when they had to play their opening home match behind closed doors. After a crowd disturbance during the Night Series. The Federation executive decreed that no spectators could watch the game, but Channel Nine got over this by sending a helicopter over the game to take some coverage. Dalmatinac managed a 1-0 win over Bayswater Inter at the Velodrome, for that was where the game was played.
The nine point winning margin at the end compared with previous years, seems quite large, but it was not an easy run home for the Champions by any means. Dalmatinac had not dropped a point after the first six games and had averaged three goals a match, with only a total of four against. But it was in a clash against their old antagonists, Macedonia, on Sunday 18th May that they had to lower their flag, albeit only half way, when an exciting game finished in a 2-2 draw. Mike Smith scored two and Sinclair and Pottier ensured that the points would be shared.
That draw enabled Azzurri to go to the top and they stayed there for a period of five weeks, with help of some top marksmanship from Kevin Elliott, who by this time was on 15 goals. Azzurri were shouldered aside by Floreat Athena at the Velodrome, when Paul Wormley notched a hat-trick, with Kevin Elliott replying with his usual contribution. Dalmatinac drew with Macedonia again on August 16th, but that was their last set back on their way to a well earned victory.
At the end of a season it becomes natural to laud the players who have won the plaudits and honours on the field of play. But I think we should also reflect on the tremendous amount of work and dedication and, yes, sacrifice, that goes into a successful season by the club committee, the ladies committee and all those who work so hard to ensure that a good side always represents their club.
But what about the other clubs? Well Macedonia had a bad start by their standards, only gaining one point from their first three games. During the course of the season they scored six goals on no less than three occasions against Kiev, Azzurri and Kelmscott. But as the season progressed they could only narrowly defeat lowly teams and draw with those a bit higher. They did well to finish second, three wins and a runners up spot in four years can not be bad by anyone's measure.
Floreat Athena made third place and the rising splendour of their new premises probably gave them sufficient inspiration to improve on their 1985 performance when they were placed sixth. Azzurri kept in contention most of the way and their opening run was equally as good as that enjoyed by the Dalies, but that 6-1 thrashing by Macedonia was a crucial blow and even a 6-0 annihilation of Gosnells City the following week was no salve for a wounded pride. They made the Top Four and were fourteen points in front of Tricolore in fifth place.
Tricolore had their problems, they disposed with the services of their coach, Tony Castiello, but it was too late and they did not improve their position to any degree, maintaining the same place to the end. The decision by Tricolore, regarding their coach, must have been a saviour for Gosnells for Castiello immediately joined them and they moved from the relegation zone. Inglewood Kiev, although without their secretary and mentor of many years, Jack Soer, maintained a creditable position right the way through and were in seventh place, exactly as they were at the close of the 1985 season.
Gosnells, Osborne Park Galeb, Kelmscott and Forrestfield were struggling most of the year and it looked a certainty it would be two of that quartet that would be relegated. Galeb clutched at a straw in the shape of a draw against Balga on the 23rd August and pulled themselves to safety with an unexpected win against Bayswater Inter. There were no such salvation for Kelmscott or Forrestfield who sunk with all hands, with pride, if not glory.
The League may provide consistency and techinical competence but for sheer emotional excitement you can't go by the D'Orsogna Cup. In March when the Cup commenced with the playing of the preliminary rounds, no one could have forseen that the Final played in some eight months time would be between the team gaining promotion from the Second Division and the unfortunate club relegated from the State League. But that is exactly what occurred when Kingsway Olympic and Kelmscott clashed at Macedonia Park on October 5th.
The competition got under way on the 29th March when the Third and Fourth Division entered the preliminary rounds with clubs from the country as well as the Amateurs and P.A.S.S.A. Well, how did they fair? The Country Associations Albany must have thought their luck had changed as they were drawn at home for three games in succession. They soon despatched Fourth Division clubs Swan I.C. and University fairly comfortably but met their match when Tricolore journeyed south and carved out a 3-0 victory.
Goldfields crashed to Perth City in the Preliminary round and Geraldton, although having a well warranted success against Cracovia they later travelled to Perth again where Balcatta Etna halted their progress in the Cup. Hampton Phoenix knocked out the South West Association in the preliminary rounds. Amateurs Fremantle United dropped out at the last minute giving Second Division Melville Alemannia a bye. Rochester had a close game with North Perth Croatia, only losing by the odd goal.
The old Federation club Swan Valley, were knocked out by Fourth Division Hampton Phoenix, while Morley Windmills amateur team made an exit in the preliminary round after being beaten by Ferndale United. P.A.S.S.A. Pantha lost 7-3 to Swan Athletic, who eventually gained promotion from the Third Division. While their colleagues Canning Town beat Federation side Graylands 2-0 but Cockburn United proved far too strong and handed them a 7-0 mauling. Langford Assegia also took a battering from Balcatta Etna, who put eight goals past the luckless amateurs. Hampton Phoenix also put paid to Kiev Amateurs' interest in the Cup with a 2-1 win.
We came to the third round and to the first appearance of the State League and as always the possibility of some shocks. Gosnells went out 3-0 to Spearwood Dalmatinac but it could not be called a surprise. Rockingham forced a draw with Forrestfield but lost the replay when Cunningham and Walsh were on target at the Velodrome. Bassendean and Perth City drew in their tie and Perth City were lucky to win the replay under lights 2-1.
Cup holders Spearwood Dalmatinac were perhaps surprisingly beaten by Floreat Athena by what would be considered a large margin in any competition. The Athena players on target were Peacock, Nickolakis, Wormley and Murphy who notched up two in the 5-2 win by his club. Second Division Cockburn United did well to beat Forrestfield and go on to the quarter finals by a 2-0 win.
Before we could finalise the quarter finals we had to achieve a result of a fourth round fixture between Perth City and Kelmscott. Kelmscott won 3-1 and so joined the rest in the quarter finals but would have to play theirs on a later date against Bayswater Inter. Kingsway Olympic by this time almost assured of the Second Division Championship eliminated Cockburn United. Bayswater Inter put paid to Floreat Athena and Perth Azzurri with goals from Marocchi and Sutton were too much for McGinn's solitary reply for Macedonia. It was a game marred by spiteful play with six players being cautioned by referee Gordon love.
Because of congestion of fixtures, extreme pressure had been put on Kelmscott, already resigned to playing in the Second Division in 1987. They were having to play a number of games over a short space of time. On Saturday 27th October they faced Inglewood Kiev and level at 2-2 the game went into extra time. Goals by Malone and Herd saw Kelmscott fit to fight another day.
On Sunday 28th Second Division Champions, Kingsway Olympic beat Perth Azzurri at Wauhop Park in a very lacklustre game with Peter Gangemi, an ex-Azzurri player, scoring the only goal of the game to see Olympic through to the Final. Kelmscott were back on the park the following day and their weary limbs saw them through to a 2-1 victory against Bayswater.
Well, what an unusual Final this was to be for sure. One up and one down. Who would be the victor on this day, Kelmscott were playing under the handicap of tiredness after playing three games in the space of seven days, they had lost John McLean who had received his sixth caution. But the Kelmscott team, egged on by a very vocal crowd of supporters, brought off the seemingly impossible after being a goal down, stormed back through the valiant efforts of veteran Brett Atherton, who netted twice in the space of a few minutes to ensure that the magnificent D'Orsogna Cup would grace the Kelmscott clubhouse for the next twelve months.
The Night Series for 1986 was played under the established format of two groups of six, thus allowing all 12 State League teams to participate. Where the change occurred in 1986 was that the prize money had been boosted to $25,000 by utilising the gate money and contributions from all those clubs involved. In the end the amount put in by the clubs was not required as the $25,000 was achieved from the entry charges alone.
Was a low scoring affair which included eight drawn games out of the 15 matches played and no team scored more than 3 goals. In the games played 44 goals were scored at an average of 2.93 per game. Twenty-nine players shared those goals with Boden of Azzurri and Blunt of Macedonia sharing the top goal scoring crown with three goals each.
This group seemed to be a little more positive in their goal scoring, amassing 59 with one game between Floreat Athena and Gosnells City that went to a 6-1 win for Athena. Oddly it was a player from the club one from the bottom, Balga, who netted the most times. George Rimpas scored on seven occasions.
If we needed more indication that soccer is more than ever a team game nowadays then the fact that the 59 goals scored in Group B were shared by 31 players would certainly be indicative. So with the result of the preliminaries decided we found Macedonia top with 15 points, Athena next with 13, Bayswater Inter in third place with 10 and fourth spot was filled by East Fremantle Tricolore.
The first Semi-Final between Bayswater Inter and East Fremantle Tricolore ended in a fairly easy win for the team from the northern suburbs. Scott Dennon was credited with creating the victory for Bayswater with a tremendous display of soccer skills, although he scored only the one goal in the 4-0 victory, he was ably abetted by Ricky Davis, Andy Toland and Frank Smerelli who all scored one each.
Favourites for the Cup, Macedonia, nearly stumbled to defeat in this game against Floreat Athena, although two goals up at half time they suddenly lost the initiative and allowed their opponents to dominate the play. In the second half it was the consistent pressure applied by Athena that caused John Hunter of Macedonia to be sent off for alleged head butting of Paul Wormley, but from the ensuing penalty Peter Murphy shot over the bar, which was a pity, as this would have levelled the score, for only moments later Paul Wormley scored.
Bayswater blasted their way into the Grand Final with a 4-2 win over Floreat Athena. The game was all over bar the shouting in the first half when all 6 goals were scored. Athena opened the scoring through a great goal by Steve Worton and this was followed by a penalty converted by Peter Murphy who had missed from the same spot in the previous game.
Shortly afterward Frank Smerelli shot into the back of the net after a beautiful pass from Scott Racey. Then this player hit two goals in the space of five minutes. Athena's spirits sank to the bottom when just before half time a Scott Dennon free kick was deflected off the Athena defensive wall to complete the scoring. The spate of goals in the first half became a famine in the second and the game closed giving Bayswater a 4-2 ticket into the Grand Final.
On the night of the Final the sky divers floated accurately into the centre of the Velodrome assisted by brilliantly coloured flares. The game that followed, too had flair and fireworks, which delighted the large crowd. It was the midfield duo of Neil Blunt and Andy Sharp who conspired together to give the opposition in the shape of Bayswater Inter a torrid time.
The first goal came when tall John Hunter of Macedonia hit the cross bar with a tremendous shot and Blunt who made no mistake with this golden opportunity. After half time Andy Sharp and John Hunter completed the scoring, then Hunter also scored again when he chipped the ball over the goalkeeper's head into his own goal. Scott Racey made the score a little more respectable but there was no doubt who were the better team on the night.
TOP FOUR PLAY-OFFS
The Top Four Cup brought back after an absence of one year turned out to be a frustrating affair for all concerned. Controversy bedevilled the competition right from the beginning of the year with proposals and counter proposals being put forward and rejected faster than the dismissal of some club coaches.
It was not until late in the season that it was finally decided to run one and by that time Spearwood Dalmatinac the eventual League champions had already made and booked plans for an end of the season excursion into Asia. In consequence the competition was run in circumstances that certainly were not conducive to a successful tournament either financially or physically.
The two Semi Finals were played on Saturday 11th October. The first was won by Floreat Athena who were pitted against an Azzurri side which only resembled their normal line up in the colour of the shirts that they wore and it was no surprise when the score was 7-0. Macedonia won the other Semi Final when Hunter and Pottier each scored with no reply from Dalmatinac.
The Preliminary Final was played the very next day on Sunday 12th and unfortunately the Fremantle Doctor came in early and turned out to be a surgeon with its gale force intensity cutting across the ground sufficient to disrupt the game. When the ball went out chased by the fury of the wind it was often a long time before the ball returned and although two balls were available considerable time was lost enough to upset the crowd and as the game went into extra time and then a 2-1 win to Floreat Athena a fracas erupted in the crowd that spilled onto the pitch. Only prompt action by club officials enabled the match officials to reach their dressing room unharmed.
Floreat Athena will still be wondering why they did not win the Grand Final of the Top Four Cup of 1986. From the start of the game they looked the most enterprising side and put the Macedonia defence under tremendous pressure only to see attempt after attempt being thwarted either by a dauntless defence or a lucky body intervention. But finally a goal had to come and after good work by Paul Wormley, Peter Murphy scored. Their delight was short lived as Ross McGinn equalised soon after.
At half time it was 1-1 then 2-1 soon after the restart when John Hunter scored from a free kick to put Macedonia in the lead. It was in the fifty seventh minute when Wormley scored with a great header to put Athena on level terms again. Well that is how it went 2-2 at full time, 2-2 after extra time and then down to the dreaded penalties.
It is a dreadful way to determine the result of a team game by bringing the onus down onto individuals. Floreat Athena suffered the penalty of not taking chances in the match and it was a dejected side who saw the Top Four Cup fade away as they could only manage two conversions from four attempts while their delighted opponents saw four of their five attempts hit the back of the net.
The 1986 Gold Medal Award coincided with the appointment of David Galwey as West Australian State Manager for Rothmans of Pall Mall. It was not coincidental that the 1986 Award evening was probably the best one we have had. No, this was due to some thoughtfulness and entreprenuerial flair shown by David Galwey and his colleagues. They created an atmosphere of friendliness and amiability that was in evidence from the start to the finish.
The organisers had had the forsight to invite representatives from both sides of the Government as well as from the City of Perth Council and dignitaries from the media and other sports. Their presence gave distinction to the evening without destroying the informality. The meal provided by the sheraton Hotel was a gourmet's delight and later the showing of highlights from the World Soccer Cup further enhanced the enjoyment of the evening.
As in the case of the Gold Medal Award Night I think it is helpful to detail the method of counting. Judging for the Rothmans Gold Medal is carried out by the match Referees who award points on a three, two one basis to the players that they consider to be the fairest and best. Any player dismissed from the field of play during the preliminary rounds or where appropriate a representative match and charged with an offence shall not be eligible for the Award unless completely exhonerated by the Judiciary Committee of the Soccer Federation of Western Australia.
Ken Lowe a popular newcomer to soccer in W.A. playing with spearwood Dalmatinac took the lead and after the first votes were counted he had eight points, close behind him on seven was Frank Bishop of Tricolore. When the second tally came on the Board, Lowe was still in front with 17 votes and the nearest to him was Balga's defender John Saunders. Eddie Sinclair moved up and matched Ken on 19 points after the third count.
After the fourth set of voting the Spearwood Dalmatinac player further increased his lead when he went on to 25 with Eddie Sinclair on 22. John Saunders of Balga had 17 and Frank Bishop, Gary Marocchi and Eric Williams were all level on 16. After a speech by Eric Worthington he then had the pleasure of announcing the winner and the scenes of jubilation at the Spearwood Dalmatinac table knew no bounds as Ken Lowe was invited to receive his medal after surging ahead and finally winning by ten clear points from Frank Bishop.
Leading Vote Getters
Ken Lowe (Dalmatinac) 36
Frank Bishop (Tricolore) 26
Eddie Sinclair (Macedonia) 25
John Saunders (Balga) 20
Gary Marocchi (Azzurri) 19
Dallas Moen (Kiev) 18
John Mclean (Kelmscott) 17
Eric Williams (Dalmalinac) 16
Adelaide City came to Perth to play the 1985 Champions, Stirling Macedonia in the first round of the Nanda Cup. The game was played on the new Macedonia Park with a maginificent clubhouse and some substantial cover for spectators. The dressing room facilities matched the faultless interior of the clubhouse and joy of joys a special Press Box was available with telephone at hand. It is a shame that we have to report that Adelaide City left the victors for it was a tremendous game and until Paul Tombides went off injured it did look as if Macedonia were the better team.
The home club must have felt they were playing away for the large ground was as new to them as it was to the visitors. Goals were scored for Adelaide by Mullen and for Macedonia by John Hunter but the game unfortunately had to be decided by penalties. John Hunter was not so accurate with his penalty as he had been with his shot and the final score to Adelaide City was 6-5.
The Australian Soccer Federation's marketing company would have to take the blame for the lack of visiting overseas teams to Perth in 1985. The marketing company ran a series of competitions in the Eastern States generally involving three visiting teams plus the Australian Socceroos. The main reason for this was to give the Socceroos essential first class practice against formidable opposition and the resultant finance from the gate proceeds and TV franchises would provide funds to enable the Socceroos to tour Europe in preparation for the World Cup.
It was a stroke of bad luck for the A.S.F. that some of the games coincided with the terrible, tragedy of Brussels, and unfortunately the media coverage of that event adversely affected the gates. Although the Soccer Federation of Western Australia made every effort to obtain teams from the United Kingdom to play here, the fact that we could not guarantee further games in the Eastern States, Asia or New Zealand, deterred teams from coming. We did, however, have as our guests a German team "Sportverein". They played against and were billetted by the State League club Balga and by all accounts they all had a high old time. The visiting players were obviously suffering from jet lag and hospitality, when they appeared at the Velodrome. Balga were much too strong and won the game by a fairly high score which nobody seems to be able to remember.
After considerable criticism from clubs and the media, the Federation executive decided to bring over the National Youth side for a match against the State team, and although the full Youth team which had played in Moscow came to Perth, little interest was shown by either the clubs or the general public. A very small crowd saw the Youth Team deservedly beat the State team by two goals to nil at Bayswater Oval.
It is hoped that we may have better fortune in the coming season, as the marketing company seems to have disappeared, and the build up for the 1990 World Cup may not be so important at this time. We are already in the process of negotiating to have an overseas team here in 1986 for the benefit of the local soccer public.
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