Who Is Walter Pless?


A teacher by profession, but is now in his 38th year as a football writer. Has written for "Soccer Action" (Melbourne), "Australian Soccer Weekly" (Sydney) and "World Soccer" (London), as well as for several Tasmanian newspapers. Currently contributing to "Goal!Weekly" in Melbourne and the Australian magazine "Soccer International". Played for Croatia-Glenorchy, Caledonians, Metro, Rapid and University in Tasmania, as well as in the United States of America. Coached University, Metro and Croatia-Glenorchy.

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The more things change, the more they stay the same. Brazil won the World Cup in 1970 and have done so twice since.

What was happening in Tasmania 40 years ago? A dip into the archives shows that in 1970, there was talk of the need for a club’s under-19s, reserves and seniors all to play at the same venue on match days.

It was noted by the game’s administrators that greater support needed to be given to the under-19 competition because that is where the players of the future would come.

Complaints were rife that some clubs were not fielding under-19 teams, despite the fact there was a provision for fines for those clubs not doing so.

There has been some progress in the past 40 years.

In 1970, floodlights were being considered for KGV Park and it was suggested that all grounds be enclosed.

A grandstand was also suggested for the creek side of the KGV ground. We are still waiting for that one.

The southern season commenced on 25 February in 1970, with the first round of the combined Association and Falkinder Cups competition.

Rapid beat Olympia 3 corners to one after the teams were level at 1-1 after normal time and went on to retain the trophy. Rapid had beaten White Eagles 4-2 in the previous season’s final.

In one of the early rounds, Caledonians downed South Hobart 4-1, with Bernard Siggins, Jim Mackinnon, Colin Godfrey and Tony Frankish netting for Calies and Alan Mackie for South Hobart.

The northern season began on 7 March, with Olympic beating Launceston Rovers 7-0.

Some of the coaches at the time were: Ismet Gjurbuzovic (Rapid), Graeme Smith (Northern Suburbs Caledonians), Ted Huddlestone (Metro), Peter Cagialis (Olympia) and Brian Foulkes (White Eagles).

Gjurbuzovic, who is currently retired and living in his native Croatia - former Olympia player Arthur Seymour told me he had run into him in Croatia only a few weeks ago - did not last long with Rapid and he was soon cleared back to Croatia-Glenorchy, the club with which he starred. Franz Fischer, a 23-year-old inside forward, took over as Rapid coach.

Graeme Smith still watches some University games. A fitness fanatic, he played well into his 60s.

Ted Huddlestone made his name with Olympia, of course, where he was a feared centre-forward in the 1960s.

Croatia-Glenorchy won the Ampol Cup in 1970 and collected prize money of $350. They beat Metro in the final and Metro collected $200.

One of the big events of 1970 occurred in January, when FIFA coach Dettmar Cramer visited Hobart and conducted coaching clinics.

Cramer was a brilliant coach and I recall attending one of his sessions at the University rugby/soccer ground near Sandy Bay Road.

His technical skills were outstanding and he demonstrated everything he expected the players to do. He was awe-inspiring and it was wonderful to watch a coach who didn’t just tell players what to do but showed them how to do it.

He went on to coach Bayern Munich to the 1975 and 1976 European Cups and in Japan he is regarded as the ‘father of Japanese football’. He also coached the United States. He is now 85 years old.

Caledonians played two friendly matches against visiting ships in 1970. They lost 6-0 to HMS Whitby, and beat a team from the Russian cargo ship Orsha 9-5 at the Domain Ground.

Caledonians were hoping to sign Metro’s sensational youngster Jim Mackinnon, who had impressed at the Australian youth carnival in Northern New South Wales that year. His brother, Hugh, was playing for Calies.

Here are some of the teams of the day:

South Hobart: Curson, Richardson, Crawford, Manson, West, Kirkpatrick (capt), Holloway, Murphy, Gibson, Mackie, Norman (Reserves: Sewell, Toppin, McCreadie).

White Eagles: Jefferson, D Siggins, Dora, Stewart, Stoddart, Hoyle, Lundin, Nelson, Kremzer, Foulkes, Rae (capt), Drelich, Rakowski, Prodanovic, Lozano, McCann.

Juventus: Cengia, Duthie, Schwesinger, Watson, Falzon, Hanna (capt), Owen, Genovesi, Rizzolo, Carnevale, Wood (Reserves: Jaegar, Tria, Palermo).

Metro: French, Cook, Allen, Hobbs, Poulter, Currie, J Mackinnon, Parums, Mills, Huddlestone, T Davis, Spaulding, Ring.

Northern Suburbs Caledonians: Jones, Fraser, Wallner, Smart, Cole, H Mackinnon, Stuart, Webb, G Smith (capt), B Siggins, Godfrey, Warwarek, McDougall.

Olympia: Roussos, Lynas, Cracknell, Quinn, Richards, Anastasiou, Shacklady, Stanton, Girling (capt), Ahearne, Manis, Petropoulos, MacKay, Madden, Kroustalis.

Rapid: Wood, Foster, Fischer (capt), Reid, Mathias, Zoetsch, Jack Dilba, John Dilba, Groenveld, S Stuetzel, Fuchs, Gerven.

Glenorchy Croatia: Udovicic, Zapatocki, Cahut, Nadinic, Fiamengo (capt), Prodan, Skaro, Leung, Lakoseljac, Letec, Plazonic, Krizanovic, Payne.

Here is some background worth mentioning of some of the above players.

John Kirkpatrick of South Hobart won the inaugural Rothmans Gold Medal in 1971.

Kurt Lundin, of White Eagles, was later known by his real name of Kurt Olson and became an artist of some note in Hobart. His works were regularly exhibited. He also played for Rapid. I think he may be in his native Denmark now.

Keith Spaulding, of Metro, played into his 40s and I still see him in Claremont sometimes, but he never attends Metro games.

‘Noddy’ Quinn, of Olympia, returned to his native Scotland and later died tragically of appendicitis.

Wally Foster, of Rapid, is now a noted heart surgeon in Queensland.

Milan Lakoseljac, of Glenorchy Croatia, had a cup named after him, of course, while team-mate Tony Skaro, who now lives in Melbourne, also played for and coached White Eagles and South Hobart.

The 10 best players in Southern Tasmanian in 1970 according to a paper of the day were:

1. Frank Letec (Croatia)

2. Joe Fiamengo (Croatia)

3. Joe Hanna (Juventus)

4. Joe Udovicic (Croatia)

5. John Kirkpatrick (South Hobart)

6. Mike Richards (Olympia)

7. Bernard Siggins (Caledonians)

8. Philip Owen (Juventus)

9. Tommy Harper (Olympia)

10. Tony Wallner (Caledonians)