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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1 Historic photos 13

Photo:  Karl Jaeger, the goalkeeper, with Hans Zotch (left) and possibly Joe Rader, before a game at Wayatinah, which had a first division team in the late 1950s. [Photo courtesy of Matt Jaeger]

To conclude my series on the late Karl Jaeger and the part he played in Tasmanian football, I will feature some historic photos from the 1960s and 1970s.

These have been provided by Karl’s son, Matt Jaeger, and they illustrate a golden era of football in Tasmania.


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Photo:  Rapid at Grove Road.  They wore red shirts and only switched to the green of their namesake, Rapid Wien, in the 1970s.  Back Row (L-R):  Unknown, Tony Goodman, Karl Jaeger, Alex Sarfalvy (Coach), Joe Rader, Egon Matthias, Karl Schwesinger.  Front Row (L-R):  Carlos Parums, Fritz Umgeher, Walter Worsey, Willy Ziefreund, Walter Nikolai. [Photo courtesy of Matt Jaeger]

Jaeger was goalkeeper for Rapid, his first club in Tasmania, where he took over from Otto Frick.

Alex Sarfalvy was the coach.  He is shown in the photo above dressed immaculately as always.  Sarfalvy would always come to games carrying a briefcase containing his notes for the game.  During the game, he would sit on a small fold-up stool on the far side of the Grove Road pitch (opposite the grandstand and underneath the old scoreboard).

Ken Morton is the 'Alex Sarfalvy' of the modern game in terms of coaching successful teams.

Sarfalvy and Karl Jaeger have passed away, but the other players in this Rapid team are still about.

I often encounter Joe Rader, Karl Schwesinger, Fritz Umgeher, Walter Worsey, Willy Ziefreund and Walter Nikolai nowadays.

Schwesinger still attends games regularly, while Nikolai does occasionally.

Ziehfreund had a terrific shot and originally played for Wayatinah before joining Rapid.

12 Historic photos 7

Photo:  The Tasmanian squad that lost 12-0 to Chelsea at North Hobart in 1965, complete with a few guest players from Victoria.  Back Row (L-R):  Mick Roussos, Unknown, Unknown, Walter Worsey, Karl Jaeger.  Middle Row (L-R):  Joe Rader, Hugh Robertson, Hans Streit, Peter Wood, Barry Shacklady, Unknown.  Front Row (L-R):  Unknown, Unknown, Les Smith (Manager), Jim Dolliver, Egon Matthias, Unknown. [Photo courtesy of Matt Jaeger]

There were highs and lows in the era depicted in these photos.  It was a time when goalkeepers didn’t wear gloves, when KGV Park was known as Grove Road, and when South Hobart was just that, and not Darcy Street.

It was a time when the Keen’s Curry sign signalled one’s proximity to the South Hobart ground (the sign is still there, high on a hill top and marked out in white stones).

It was Tasmania’s version of the signs at Nazca in Peru, which were supposedly constructed by, or for, aliens. The Keen’s Curry sign was constructed by humans. The words were sometimes rearranged by university students as a practical joke, but it still signalled ‘This is South Hobart, soccer headquarters’ to all local football followers.

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Photo:  Karl Jaeger, playing for Juventus, takes a cross against Olympia at South Hobart (the Keen's Curry sign verifies that it is at South Hobart), watched by team-mate Tony Goodman (left) and challenged by Olympia's Harry Alexiadis,a goalkeeper turned centre-forward.  Olympia's Richard Whittaker also looks on.  Alexiadis was selected for Australia as a goalkeeper but suffered a shoulder injury and could not play.  He then became a centre-forward and was one of the game's most prolific goalscorers.  Short in stature, he had lightning reflexes and was extremelt agile.  I still see him about regularly, but he is very ill. [Photo courtesy of Matt Jaeger]

3 Historic photos 1

Photo:  Juventus at Grove Road in 1968.  Back Row (L-R):  Bruno Cengia, Tommy Watson, Phil Owen, Jim Thornhill, Unknown, Tony Parker, Joe Hanna, Dominic Rizzolo.  Front Row (L-R):  Tommy Watson's son, Steven Watson, Remo Carnevale, Jacky Rais, Karl Jaeger, Peter Wood, Vito Tria [Photo courtesy of Matt Jaeger]

What a team this Juventus side was.  Bruno Cengia was an all-rounder, equally at home in goal or at centre-foward.  He could stop goals and score them and he also played for Rapid and Hobart City.

Phil Owen was an Australian youth international and scored the only goal as Australia's Under-16s beat New Zealand in Sydney in 1964.

Tommy Watson is now Hobart Zebras' match manager.  I taught his son, Stuart, at Claremont High School a few years after this photo was taken.  He was probably the first player in Tasmanian football to be classed as an 'attacking fullback'.  He would make strong runs down the flanks past his own midfielders and even wingers before returning to his defensive duties.

Joe Hanna was one of the best defenders to have played in Tasmania.

Jacky Rais, a former British Army commando, went on to a coaching career.

Peter Wood was a member of the Salvation Army and so could not play on Sundays.

4 Historic photos 3

Photo:  Juventus keeper Karl Jaeger punches clear against Olympia at South Hobart.  The Number 10 is Olympia's captain, Dick Girling, while the Olympia player in the centre is Lachie Vagianos, who was sold to NSL club Adelaide Hellas for $5,000. [Photo courtesy of Matt Jaeger]

5 Historic photos 11

Photo:  Juventus keeper Karl Jaeger turns an Olympia shot against the crossbar, watched by team-mate Luciano Longo (father of former Socceroo Dominic Longo) and Olympia's Richard Whittaker.  The linesman may have been Brian Clarkson [Photo courtesy of Matt Jaeger]

7 Historic photos 15

Photo:  Karl Jaeger watches an Olympia shot sail over his head as team-mate Remo Carnevale and Olympia's Dick Girling look on [Photo courtesy of Matt Jaeger]

8 Historic photos 16

Photo:  Juventus keeper Karl Jaeger takes a cross watched by team-mate Tony Goodman (left) and Olympia skipper Dick Girling [Photo courtesy of Matt Jaeger]

9 Historic photos 6

Photo:  Juventus circa 1970.  Back Row (L-R):  Unknown (but possibly one of the Giusti brothers), Unknown, Joe Hanna, Karl Jaeger, Karl Schwesinger, Phil Owen.  Front Row (L-R):  John Genovesi, Dominic Rizzolo, Peter Wood, Vito Tria, Tommy Watson, Remo Carnevale.  Dominic Rizzolo works at the Italian Club, while Tommy Watson is match manager for Hobart Zebras' home games.  John Genovesi was selected for an Australian Under-23 side.  Karl Schwesinger, Joe Hanna and Phil Owen can be seen at some games nowadays. [Photo cortesy of Matt Jaeger]

10 Historic photos 2

Photo:  The Tasmanian squad in the late 1950s.  Back Row (L-R):  Alex Sarfalvy (Coach), Unkown, Alan Hall, Egon Matthias, Unknown, Jim Hunter, Karl Jaeger, Unknown, Freddy Pieper, Unknown.  Front Row (L-R):  Tony Goodman, Jim Dolliver, Don Rawlings, Unknown, Walter Worsey, Frank Gmelch, Walter Nikolai. [Photo courtesy of Matt Jaeger]

The above photo brings back memories.

Sarfalvy was a brilliant tactician. He conducted tactical lessons for coaches and members of the public on some evenings at the Polish Club in New Town.  It was his way of educating the football public.  He played at a high level in his native Hungary befoer coming to Tasmania.

Egon Matthias broke both legs but it did not end his career.  He began as a defender and successfully switched to centre-forward.

Jim Hunter was unbeatable at the back for Rangers, while Freddy Pieper was a superb half-back for Rapid.

Tony Goodman was one of the most elegant players to have graced the local scene.

Jim Dolliver was my manger when I coached Metro in 1980 and 1981.  He was a true gentleman and offered astute advice whenever asked as he had been an excellent player.

Walter Worsey is one of the greatest centre-fowards to have played here and was a professional sprinter, while Walter Nikolai was a speedy left-winger.

Frank Gmelch had the most powerful shot in Tasmanian football and really tested the Hungarian goalkeeper when Tasmania took on Ferencvaros at North Hobart.  He was killed in a mountaineering accident while on holiday in his native Austria.  It was a tragic ending to a marvellous career as he still had so much to give to Tasmanian football.

11 Historic photos 5

Photo:  Juventus's first-ever title-winning team pose at South Hobart in 1969.  Back Row (L-R):  Bruno Cengia, Lou Genovesi (Manager), Unknown, Phil Owen, Unknown, Joe Hanna, Karl Schwesinger (Coach), Dr John Clemente (President).  Front Row (L-R):  Remo Carnevale, John Genovesi, Dominic Rizzolo, Vito Tria, Karl Jaeger, John Gazzignato, Peter Wood, Tommy Watson [Photo courtesy of Matt Jaeger]

13 Historic photos 8

Photo:  Tasmania at an unknown venue and unknown date.  Back Row (L-R):  Alex Sarfalvy (Coach), Karl Jaeger, Unknown, Walter Nikolai, Unknown, Egon Matthias, Graeme Smith, Unknown, Unknown, Les Smith (Manager).  Front Row (L-R):  Unkown, Dick Girling, Unknown, Harry Alexiadis, Walter Worsey, Hans Zotch, Unknown [Photo courtesy of Matt Jaeger]

The above photo of the Tasmanian squad must be from about the mid-1960s because Harry Alexiadis is still a goalkeeper at the time.

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Photo:  Karl Jaeger receiving an award from Juventus.  I don't know who he is being introduced to, but the man to his right is Dr John Clemente, the president of Hobart Juventus [Photo courtesy of Matt Jaeger]

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Photo:  Karl Jaeger (centre) on his wedding day, surrounded by Rapid team-mates (L-R) Walter Nikolai, Hans Heiremann, Egon Matthias and Hans Zotch. [Photo courtesy of Matt Jaeger]

If readers can help out with unnamed players, officials, dates and places or occasions in the above photos, feel free to comment.


0 #11 Frank 2018-08-10 04:47
Anyone know anymore about Wayatinah soccer?
+2 #10 Walt 2015-11-03 11:25
#8 Uncle Les, yes I can. Tasmania played Cardiff City at Queenborough in 1968. Cardiff, with the great John Toshack in their team, won 5-1. Tony Skaro scored a penalty for Tasmania. Cheers!
0 #9 anon 2015-11-03 09:50
Quoting anon:
Quoting Karl:
Looking at photos I remember the old times but more than that grandstand at South hobart an Grove Rd. were full with supporters. Good all times.

I think your on the money.

sorry i meant to reply about Queenborough.
0 #8 Uncle Les 2015-11-03 09:23
I also think it is Queenborough in the third last photo.

The big hedge surrounding the ground, terraced seating and the concrete building at the main gates still remain.

Unusual location for the game though - can you ever recall a game being played there Walter.

Thoroughly enjoy these articles.
0 #7 Karl 2015-11-03 08:52
Walter, more stories like this please, maybe Egon Matthhias or Karl Schweisinger, Joeh Hanna or Owen brothers ????
0 #6 Keith Roberts 2015-11-03 06:43
The unknown venue & date picture was taken at Queenborough. Tasmania played South Australia on April 21st, 1962. Score 2-6.
Team. Jaeger,J Biggar, A Hall, T Goodman, E Matthias, G Smith, D Girling, H Zoetsch, W Worsey, R Nixon, W Nickolai. Reserves H Alexiadis, H Robertson, F Umgher. You can pick out who is who ! A Hall right of Matthias, Nixon bottom left?
0 #5 anon 2015-11-03 06:19
This article certainly stirs up some great memories pity there's not more info around about the Hydro teams etc. Great read sir!
0 #4 anon 2015-11-03 06:17
Quoting Karl:
Looking at photos I remember the old times but more than that grandstand at South hobart an Grove Rd. were full with supporters. Good all times.

I think your on the money.
0 #3 Karl 2015-11-03 02:14
Looking at photos I remember the old times but more than that grandstand at South hobart an Grove Rd. were full with supporters. Good all times.
+1 #2 Martin 2015-11-03 01:53
Looking at that unknown venue it looks like Queenborough AFL ground Sandy bay? Looking towards the main gate?

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