Who Is Walter Pless?

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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Davie_Smith

Photo:  David Smith scored the goal that gave White Eagles the inaugural State League title [PlessPix]

White Eagles won the inaugural Radio Rentals State League competition in 1978.

A goal by David Smith midway through the second half gave Eagles a 1-0 win over Rapid to clinch the title on goal-difference from Croatia.

Both sides had 27 points, but Eagles’ goal-difference was plus 21, while Croatia’s was plus 18.

Bruce_Ward_of_Juventus_at_South_Hobart

Photo:  Englishman Bruce Ward was an example of the quality players attracted to Tasmania from overseas by the State League [PlessPix]

There were 10 teams in the inaugural State League and they finished in this order:

White Eagles, Croatia, Rapid, Olympia, Devonport, Launceston Juventus, Caledonians, Ulverstone, George Town and Launceston United.

Notable exclusions were Juventus-Pioneer of Hobart and South Hobart, who competed in the Southern Winfield Division One competition along with Dnipro, Metro, Taroona-St Mirren, University, Kingborough and Eastern Suburbs.

Olympia were playing at Sandfly the previous season and were on the verge of signing a 20-year lease for South Hobart when the Hobart City Council pulled the pin on the proposal and handed the ground back to the Tasmanian Soccer Association to handle.

Rapid signed two Iraqi players from Olympia at the start of the season.  They were Noorey Aziz and Munthen Alwan.

David_Crosson_Croatia_Glenorchy_coach

Photo:  Former Newcastle United player David Crosson came to Tasmania to join Rapid [PlessPix]

Olympia were coached by Karl Schwesinger, who tried to sign Jim Mackinnon from Metro, but the deal wasn’t completed when Mackinnon decided to stay with Metro before heading overseas.

Don Farmery, the leading scorer in the south for the previous two seasons, was also expected to join Olympia from Rapid.

The Radio Rentals State League was worth $4,500 and the start of the competition was almost delayed when the referees threatened strike action about the issue of appointments to matches.

A referee and his two linesmen had to share $60 as payment for games, which was almost double what they received the previous season.

The Tasmanian Soccer Federation was incensed at the threat and issued a statement saying that if the league collapsed before it even started, sponsorship would be lost and it would prove very difficult to regain.

The printing and distribution of fixture cards were delayed until the matter was settled.

The issue was finally resolved with a few changes to the referees’ roster and the league started on time.

White Eagles began their campaign without a coach as the club was waiting for the arrival of a Polish coach, Peter Broll, a former international goalkeeper.

The interim coach was Peter Bourne, a Mancunian from South Melbourne Hellas.

White Eagles eventually flew in John Grimsey from interstate.  He was a former Olympia and Tasmania coach.

Eagles drew their opening match 1-1 with Croatia with Grimsey at the helm.

Eamonn_Kelly_about_1982

Photo:  Eamonn Kelly with a collection of trophies at the time of the State League

Olympia were coached by Ken Worden, who later went on to coach White Eagles and Juventus and who took Melbourne Croatia to the NSL title.

He also coached Malaysian side Selangor on four occasions between 1991 and 2004.  He is currently coaching in Burma.

Amateur players were allowed to transfer from Winfield Division One clubs to State League clubs without charge and stay for a limited trial period, providing both clubs agreed.

Olympia’s game against Croatia at KGV Park in May was an incident-packed affair, with Olympia’s John Constantinovits being removed from the field after assaulting referee Basil Masters.

Constantinovits had missed a penalty for Tasmania against Sunderland at KGV Park a couple of years earlier.

Olympia, who had been leading 2-1 at half-time, also had Ossie Moore and Worden sent off and finished the game with 8 men, losing 6-2.

The trouble started when Milan Lakoseljac won a penalty for Croatia.  Willy Peters converted and Croatia took a 3-2 lead.

Constantinovits was banned for life and banned from all grounds in Tasmania, while Worden received a one-match suspension.  Olympia condemned the actions of Constantinovits and the club’s lawyer argued that it had been a case of ‘temporary insanity’.

Eric_Young_left_and_Peter_Brine_October_1982_at_Casino

Photo:  Eric Young (left), formerly of Manchester United and Darlington, and Peter Brine, of Middlesbrough, were two of the finest imports [PlessPix]

The players for the various State League sides in 1978 were:

White Eagles: Caban, Sikora, Trueman, Nunn, Eamonn Kelly, David Smith, Dominic Fraraccio, Sugden, Linnell, Oakes, Brian McKay, Tony Godfrey, David Forshaw, Peter Wass.

Hobart Olympia: Stettner, Worden, Moore, Chris Hargrave, Peter Crowther, Chris Broughton, Tommy Wright, Roger Norman, Farmery, Spendiff, Ronnie Bolton, Conlan, Karagiannakis, Genaris.

Rapid: P Kannegiesser, Plazonic, Wilson, Morales, Thompson, Chester Willcock, Cengia, Steve Kannegiesser, Aziz, Medhurst, Richards, Alwan, Jack Dilba, John Dilba, Stewart.

Caledonians: Paul Jones, David Nichols, Chris Hey, Steve 'Spinner' Adkins, Joe Hanna, Jenkins, H Mackinnon, Marlor, Alistair Hales, Richard Graley, Dean, Hindmarsh.

Launceston United: Bain, Hopkins, Buggy, Donaldson, Laverty, Hudson, Joss, Chadwick, Attenborrow, Coleman, Graccogna, Caddy.

George Town: Jones, Gaetani, Whitemore, Wharton, Stalker, Reece, O’Sullivan, Gimpl, Harrington, Scheibl, Farrell, Zoon, Dale.

Devonport: Cutting, Rimmer Best, Baird, Conway, MacDonald, Frame, Zschoke, Gleeson, Smith, McKenna, Pizzerani, Johnston.

Croatia: Wayne Cowen, Ray Mohring, Bill Krawczyk, Manley, Frank Letec, Kevin Leung, George Sarfalvy, Bill Kirkpatrick, Rodney Tattam, Raymond Zapatocki, Triffitt, Joe Glasovac, Davo Perovic, Willy Peters, Tasso Manis.

Launceston Juventus: Garrett, Bowers, Strickland, Butler, Foran, Van Der Geest, Collins, Beal, Heap, Gibbons, Streit, Robinson, Ponting, Hodge, Rosetto.

Ulverstone: Ron Smith, Rob Smith, Fitzgerald, Rush, Shegog, Smythe, Tom Dolliver, Ted Dolliver, Van Der Pleog, Fischer, Foot.

Peter_Savill_at_KGV_11_09_10

Photo:  Peter Savill, the former Leeds United player, considerably strengthened Launceston Juventus [PlessPix]

It was proposed to expand the State League to 12 teams in 1979, with the addition of Burnie United and South Hobart, but most of the clubs opposed this and the idea was shelved.

The floodlights were installed at KGV Park late in the season at a cost of $43,000.  The State government contributed a loan of $23,500 and the Glenorchy City Council a loan of $12,000.

The lights were only able to be used on Wednesdays and had to be out by 9.30pm.  Special exemptions were permitted.

Before the lights were installed, residents living within a 30-metre radius of the KGV Park ground were canvassed about their reaction to night soccer.

Seventy-seven per cent had no objection, while 18 per cent were indifferent, 2 per cent were opposed to it, and 3 per cent were not at home when the survey was conducted.

There were six poles of 20 metres in height and a total of 36 lights, each of 1,500 watts, with control gear built in.  Provision was made for increasing the number of lights.

All the cabling was underground and a public address system was linked to each of the six poles in order to cover the whole ground.

Light distribution, angles and focusing were determined by computer in Melbourne.

Peter_Sawdon__of_Northern_Tasmania

Photo:  Peter Sawdon was one of the best imports to come to Tasmania and he is still here [PlessPix]

In the first game under the lights, on Saturday, 16 September 1978, Croatia beat Juventus 5-0, with 20-year-old Bill Kirkpatrick netting a hat-trick before a crowd of 3,000.

George Sarfalvy and Milan Lakoseljac scored the remaining goals, while Croatia goalkeeper Rodney Tattam had an outstanding match and repeatedly kept Juventus at bay.

It was the fifth cup success for Croatia coach Alex Sarfalvy, whose son, George, was in the Croatia side.

Juventus played well and had good chances that fell to Philip Owen, Bruno Di Tomasso and Ronnie Di Felice.

Croatia also won the Cadbury Cup, beating White Eagles 3-1.

White Eagles captain Larry Nunn won the 1978 Rothmans Gold Medal, while Ken Morton arrived late that year to take up a two-year player contract with Caledonians for the following season.  He lasted only a few months before becoming player-coach of Rapid.

Robin_Gray_Colin_Guest_and_Peter_Gree_right_at_Rothmans

Photo:  Import Colin Guest (second from left), winner of the Rothmans Gold Medal, shown with Premier Robin Gray (left), manager of Rothmans, and MC Peter Gee (right) [PlessPix]

As the 1978 season drew to a close, former Olympia star Norman Stanton broke his leg while playing for Dnipro, and Rapid played a friendly against a team from the visiting submarine HMAS Onslow.

Kim Barker, who was in South Hobart’s reserves in 1978, was the top scorer for the Division One club with 29 goals.

Division One club Metro’s best-and-fairest award went to their top scorer, Stephen Pitchford, while the club’s best recruit was Kevin Clamp.

The following State League season, and right through to 1981, when the State League folded, was one of the finest eras in Tasmanian football.

The State League prompted clubs to import class players.  The arrival over these years of the likes of Peter Savill (Leeds United), Peter Willis (Leeds United), David Crosson (Newcastle United), Eric Young (Manchester United), Peter Brine (Middlesbrough), John Charlton, Bruce Ward, Ian Dickinson, Ian Parker, Nick Cook and Steve Craven enhanced the league and the Tasmanian football scene.

And then there were Colin and Ernie Guest, Liam Monagle and Peter Sawdon, who played for northern State League clubs.

But that is a story for another day.

T_Wright

Photo:  Tommy Wright in his Caledonians days.  He played State League for Olympia [Photo by Ralph Dymond]

Tommy_Wilson_of_Rapid

Photo:  Tommy Wilson as a Rapid player.  He also played for Caledonians. He is not in the best of health these days. [PlessPix]

Ron_Bolton_free-kick_for_Olympia_against_University_mid_1980s

Photo: Ronnie Bolton takes a free-kick for Olympia against University at South Hobart [Photo by Ralph Dymond]

Comments   

0 #46 john mikulcic 2017-06-27 07:45
Quoting Tommy Gibbons:
Excellent article, I was at the game that day when John went cyco, I thought I was dreaming when he ran about 20 meters and dived at Bas Maters, mind you I remember the first game I played under the control of Bas Maters aganist Burnie at Brooks School Ground and Bas sent me off. I just got off the phone from George Arnott who told me about your web site been reading it for hours. Good job well done


I was at that game to as a kid. It was an amazing game. I vividly remember the send off. Croatia ran away with it after all the trouble. I'm not sure if my memory is blurred but did Milan Lakoceljac poach a ball from underneath the goalkeeper and score?
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0 #45 Calies supporter 2015-07-26 08:02
It was Brett Nichols not David in the Calies team
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0 #44 Walter Pless 2012-10-24 06:57
Hi Tommy
I'm delighted that you've discovered the site and are enjoying it.
Cheers!
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0 #43 Tommy Gibbons 2012-10-24 06:19
Excellent article, I was at the game that day when John went cyco, I thought I was dreaming when he ran about 20 meters and dived at Bas Maters, mind you I remember the first game I played under the control of Bas Maters aganist Burnie at Brooks School Ground and Bas sent me off. I just got off the phone from George Arnott who told me about your web site been reading it for hours. Good job well done
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-1 #42 Steve Darby 2012-08-13 06:05
Excellent article !! Just read it as I was in China when published (and you are banned in China Walt!) Some great memories on and off the field. Also as well as good players good characters...su ch as Nick Cook!
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+1 #41 Spider 2012-07-08 09:39
Quoting Pete Crowther:
Thanks Ronnie ... and to Dales note pretty sure you are right Thats Dom, Sean, myself at number 10 (with hair - now long gone), Robbie Mallick I think at 8 and have to rake my memory for the number 6 ... spot Couttsy on the side line extreme right!!!

...and to Peter Wass's comment there probably wasnt a lens speed fast enough to get a photo of him!!

Cheers Pete

[quote name="Pete Crowther"]Thank s Ronnie ... and to Dales note pretty sure you are right Thats Dom, Sean, myself at number 10 (with hair - now long gone), Robbie Mallick I think at 8 and have to rake my memory for the number 6 ... spot Couttsy on the side line extreme right!!!

...and to Peter Wass's comment there probably wasnt a lens speed fast enough to get a photo of him!!

Cheers Pete[/quotei I think it is I
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+2 #40 Pete Crowther 2012-07-06 18:17
Thanks Ronnie ... and to Dales note pretty sure you are right Thats Dom, Sean, myself at number 10 (with hair - now long gone), Robbie Mallick I think at 8 and have to rake my memory for the number 6 ... spot Couttsy on the side line extreme right!!!

...and to Peter Wass's comment there probably wasnt a lens speed fast enough to get a photo of him!!

Cheers Pete
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+2 #39 Ronnie Bolton 2012-07-06 14:39
Pete Crowther your memory is spot on.I was amazed at Basils attempt because inside the change room "Big" Tommy Wright was doing his best to calm Yanni down and I am sure Basil was concussed from the hit that he received from Yanni.Keep dining Pete........... .
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+3 #38 Pete Crowther 2012-07-06 09:43
Thanks Walter - a good read ... just to add to Ronnies note above about the game when John C got banned for life - I was sitting on the bench that day as a younger chap and was pretty amazed at the final chapter when Basil tried to slide the red card under the change room door to officially give John his send-off .. of course this may be my poor memory but have dined out on that story for some time. Cheers Pete
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+2 #37 Anonymous 2012-07-06 01:36
Quoting Anonymous:
Shin guards were optional back in those days...duty of care zero..lol

I was going to say the same thing.
Now all FFT are worried about is how high or low shin pads sit and what colour tape you have around your socks.

How pathetic. Just worry about the more important stuff to run a competition and worry less about the height of shin pads and the colour of the tape!
Sheeeeesh!!!!
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