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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Peter Brine in Hobart 11 November 2017 - Copy

Photo:  Peter Brine was impressed with the beauty of Hobart during his current visit [PlessPix]

I had the pleasure of catching up with former star Tasmanian import Peter Brine on Saturday night during his brief visit to Hobart.

‘Salty’ is living in Townsville now, where he owns a restaurant called ‘A Touch of Salt’.

Craig Jones Peter Brine Nick Di Martino and Denis Payne at Cargo 11 November 2017 - Copy

Photo (L-R):  Craig Jones, Peter Brine, Nick Di Martino and Denis Payne [PlessPix]

He is one of the finest, if not the finest, imports ever to have played in Tasmania. He and former Manchester United player Eric Young came to Tasmania in 1981 to play for Hobart Juventus.

Brine played 100 or so times for Middlesbrough in the old English First Division in the 1960s and 1970s and won a league title with the club in 1973-74. The club’s manager at the time was the former England International, Jack Charlton.

Coincidentally, Jack Charlton’s son, John, also came to Tasmania and played with Hobart Juventus when Brine was the club’s coach.

Hobart Juventus mid-1980s - Copy

Photo:  Hobart Juventus in the early 1980s at the Athletic Centre.  Coach Peter Brine is at extreme right of back row, while John Charlton is seventh from the left in the back row.  Team manager Denis Payne is at the extreme left of the back row, while Craig Jones is fourth from the left in the back row and Nick Di Martino is to the left of John Charlton. [PlessPix]

Apart from being so well credentialed, Brine was extremely modest and he never mentioned his footballing pedigree.

I first saw him and Young play for Hobart Juventus on a Wednesday night and the pair dominated. They did not lose a single aerial contest and their passing was accurate over short and long distances.

I peeked into the Juventus dressingrooms at KGV Park before one night match and there, pinned to the door, was a colour photo from the English magazine ‘Football Monthly’ showing Brine in action for Middlesbrough. I knew then that he was the real deal.

Eric Young left and Peter Brine October 1982 - Copy

Photo:  Eric Young (left) and Peter Brine at a Rothmans Gold Medal award dinner in the early 1980s [PlessPix]

‘Salty’ made his debut for Middlesbrough as a teenager against Milwall.

Graeme Souness was one of his team-mates.

A bad knee injury ended his English career (nowadays, surgery would probably have had him playing again within months), but he went to the USA in 1976 and played for the Minnesota Kicks.

He played against Pele and said in an interview that it was the only game he had ever played in where he was in awe of an opponent.

“Salty’ played in Tasmania with a heavily bandaged knee and he could never train regularly or intensively, but in games, he was the master.

He had been a striker in England before switching to midfield, but here in Tasmania he played as a sweeper.

He organised his defence superbly, read the game to perfection, and sprayed passes accurately from the back to put his team into attack.

Otto Klaus Peter Brine Steve Darby and Ron Coutts - Copy

Photo:  Peter Brine (left) with University's Steve Darby and Ron Coutts at a Rothmans Gold Medal award dinner.  Coutts was the physio at Aberdeen when Sir Alex Ferguson was manager there, while Darby is a noted coach in Asian football now [PlessPix]

He eventually coached Hobart Juventus before switching to Olympia and playing for, and coaching, that club.

He worked for Wrest Point Casino and eventually transferred to the new casino in Townsville.

He was on the board of the short-lived A-League club North Queensland Fury, a Townsville-based franchise, for whom former Liverpool star Robbie Fowler played.

It was wonderful to catch up with Peter and team-mates from his Juventus days such as Nick Di Martino and Craig Jones, and team manager Denis Payne.

I’ve never been to Townsville, but if I do get there one day, my first port of call will be ‘A Touch of Salt’.

Thanks for the memories, Pete.

Walter Pless with Peter Brine at Cargo in Salamanca Hobart 11 November 2017 - Copy

Photo:  It was great to catch up with Peter again after 35 years [Photo by Nick Di Martino]

Juventus mid-1980s - Copy

Photo:  A trophy-winning Hobart Juventus side at South Hobart in the early 1980s, with Peter Brine (third from right at the back as coach) and team manager Denis Payne at the extreme right at the back.  John Genovesi, an Australian under-23 international, is between Brine and Payne. Englishman Bruce Ward, one of the most feared strikers every to play here, has his hands on the trophy, while John Charlton is at the extreme left of the front row. See if you can pick out current coaches, Nick Di Martino, Sergio Pace, Ronnie Di Felice and Nick Lapolla.  Carlo Ambrosino is also there, as is Steve Craven, one of the finest goalkeepers ever to play in Tasmania.  He once scored a goal at South Hobart with a long kick that bounced once and went over Uni keeper Steve Darby.  Craven was also quite at home as a striker when needed. [PlessPix]


+11 #5 Imagine today 2017-11-15 03:14
Balls were heavier & boots and they could still play
+11 #4 Danny Donohoe 2017-11-14 10:24
Great article good players and fine people
+15 #3 Brian Young 2017-11-13 23:27
Saw him play for 'Boro against Aberdeen at Pittodrie in the (now defunct) Anglo-Scottish Cup, when I lived there in the 70s and 80s
+17 #2 Nick Di 2017-11-13 11:09
Walter you are spot on with your comment regarding Briney’s humility.
I believe that’s what makes the man. Utmost respect for others and never talked himself up. A great quality.
+16 #1 Anon 2017-11-13 10:38
Some great names of Tassie soccer there Walter- GREAT ARTICLE and a real pleasure to read. Thank you

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