Sunday, October 20, 2019

Vale Michael Antony Roussos (17 January 1945 - 17 October 2019)

Photo:  Michael Roussos at an Olympia function on 8 October 2011 [PlessPix]

Michael Roussos, the former Olympia and Tasmania goalkeeper, passed away suddenly in Hobart last Thursday aged 74.

Roussos was one of the finest goalkeepers to have graced the game in Tasmania.

An architect by profession, Roussos also played second grade cricket with South Hobart as a wicket keeper.

He arrived in Tasmania with his parents from Greece in 1958, when he was 13, and attended Taroona High School.

He had been playing soccer in Greece since he was 8 years old, but switched to Aussie Rules at Taroona High, where he played as a rover and forward.

He returned to soccer when attending Hobart High for his matriculation and played for the school team.

He soon joined Olympia, but had to play second fiddle to Olympia’s brilliant goalkeeper Harry Alexiadis.

Alexiadis, who had been selected for the Socceroos, injured a shoulder in 1963 and became an outstanding centre-forward, scoring numerous goals for the club in the top flight.

This provided Roussos with his opportunity and he took over in goal and never looked back, winning several titles and cups with Olympia.

Photo:  How I remember Roussos  -  taking a high ball in a game at Grove Road. 

As a high school kid, Roussos was one of my heroes and I’d go to watch him play as often as I could.  I recall standing behind the goals at Grove Road at the Aussie Rules end of the ground and admiring his goalkeeping.  I’d engage him in conversation when the ball was at the other end and he was always willing to engage in small talk.

I only played against Roussos once.  That was for Metro against Olympia at South Hobart in 1969.  I squandered a great chance to score against him.  I got onto the end of a corner from the right at the canteen end of the ground but mis-kicked the ball, which bobbled into his arms.  I should have netted, but perhaps I was just too in awe of the great man.

Roussos was called up for Tasmania when he was just 20 and played against English club Chelsea at North Hobart on 26 May 1965.  Tasmania lost 12-0, but Roussos was blameless against one of England’s best teams.

Photo:  Roussos as a fresh-faced 20-year-old goalkeeper when he was selected to play for Tasmania against the mighty Chelsea at North Hobart on 26 May 1965.

The Chelsea game was actually his third call-up for Tasmania.  He was in the squad that toured Northern New South Wales in 1964 but didn’t play, but he did play for Tasmania against New Zealand in Auckland in 1965.

In the 1964 season, Olympia conceded a mere 20 goals and much of the credit rested with Roussos.

Roussos also played for Tasmania against China at the Royal Showgrounds in Glenorchy in 1975.  Tasmania lost 2-1.

Photo:  This press clipping which I collected as a kid shows  Roussos (right) tangling with Kevin Leung in an Olympia versus Croatia game at South Hobart.

After retiring in the mid-1970s, Roussos concentrated largely on his family and on his career as an architect.

In recent years he would attend Olympia functions but I can’t recall seeing him at games.

His son, Emanuel, played for the club and was Olympia’s president for a number of years before George Mamacas assumed the role.

Roussos is survived by his wife, Roza, son Emanuel and daughter Irene, daughter-in-law Roberta, and grandchildren Eleni and Michaella.

His funeral will be held  next Tuesday at 11am at the Greek Orthodox Church of St George in Antill Street, South Hobart.

Photo:  Olympia goalkeeper Mick Roussos punches the ball clear against Caledonian winger David Jones in a game at South Hobart.  The Olympia Number 5 is Stewart ('Noddy') Quinn.  Jones was an airline steward with Qantas but was later a physical education teacher at Claremont High, where I was a student.  He was one of the speediest wingers in Tasmania.  Quinn later returned to Scotland and passed away prematurely after being stricken with appendicitis.

1978 Croatia Glenorchy cup-winning side hold reunion dinner

Photo (L-R):  George Sarfalvy, Billy Kirkpatrick, Roman Zapatocky, Rodney Tattam, Wayne Cowen and Joe Glasovac [PlessPix]

I was delighted to be invited to dinner at Da Angelo’s Restaurant in Battery Point last Friday night by Rodney Tattam, the former Croatia Glenorchy goalkeeper.

Rodney had organised the reunion dinner of the 1978 Croatia Glenorchy team which won the Ampol Cup that year in the first-ever game under lights at Grove Road (KGV Park).

Before a crowd of 2,000, Croatia Glenorchy beat Hobart Juventus 5-0.

The lights, incidentally, cost $43,000.

Billy Kirkpatrick, who netted a hat-trick, was at Friday night’s dinner.

The other players who attended were Tattam, Wayne Cowen, George Sarfalvy, Joe Glasovac and Roman Zapotocky.

The winning squad that year was:  R Tattam, A Payne, B Krawczyk, Mohring, Bolonja, W Cowen, F Letec, W Peters. M Lakoseljac, K Leung, W Kirkpatrick, G Sarfalvy, R Zapatocky, J Glasovac.

Alex Sarfalvy, the doyen of Tasmania’s coaching fraternity, was the coach.

The Lakoseljac Cup is, of course, named after the late Milan Lakoseljac, centre-forward of that 1978 Croatia team.

Photo:  Paul and Robbie Furjanic and Brendan and Bradley Lakoseljac with the 1978 players [PlessPix]

The Lakoseljac family was represented at the dinner by Nerradine Lakoseljac, Milan’s widow, and son Brendan Lakoseljac and grandson Bradley Lakoseljac.

The Furjanic family, a name synonymous with Croatia Glenorchy, Glenorchy Knights and the annual Croatia Australia Soccer Tournament, were also represented at the dinner by Paul and Robbie Furjanic and Anita Furjanic (Bonnitcha).

1978 was the first year of the first-ever State League and White Eagle won the title on goal-difference from Croatia Glenorchy.

Hobart Juventus were in the second-tier at the time so Croatia’s win in the Cup Final was not really a surprise.

Juventus had been excluded from the inaugural State League because they had no home ground.

Croatia wrote a letter of support to the Tasmanian Soccer Federation for Juventus’s inclusion in the State League, but the TSF refused to admit them, even though the club was one of the best supported teams in the State.

Rapid, who shared the South Hobart ground that year, finished third but were still in with a title chance near the end.

A 67th-minute goal by David Smith, the current Hobart Zebras coach, gave White Eagle a 1-0 win over Rapid to end Rapid’s title hopes and ensure Eagle of the championship.

Rodney Tattam had dark streaks painted under his eyes, supposedly to stop the glare from the floodlights.  His team-mates poured scorn on him for this.  Coach Sarfalvy took him outside the dressing room and asked him if he thought those dark streaks would help him in the game.  When Rodney replied in the affirmative, Sarfalvy told him to ignore the rest of the team and to go for it.

Willy Peters, by the way, was the youngest recipient in 1978 of the Player-of-the-Year Award.

I was coaching University that year, but I was appointed coach of Glenorchy Croatia four years later, in 1982.

The only players who were still at the club from that 1978 team were Wayne Cowen, Willy Peters, Billy Kirkpatrick, Alistair Payne and Frank Letec.

Billy Krawczyk tragically drowned in late 1981 in a scuba diving accident at Gordon.  A handsome young man, Krawczyk had been ‘the face’ of clothing store Glasser and Parker and featured in numerous television advertisements.  Glenorchy Knights still honour his memory with a perpetual award each year.

Rodney Tattam has already pencilled in 17 October next year for the next reunion dinner, and he reckons he’s also working on a reunion for the PO Saints team.

Photo:  Players and family at Friday night's dinner [PlessPix]

Photo:  And more players and wives and friends, including Angelo Fraraccio (middle of back row) and Bruno Cengia (with scarf draped over shoulders) [PlessPix]

Friday, October 18, 2019

Tony Bacic resigns as Glenorchy Knights president

Photo:  Tony Bacic, a former star player with Glenorchy Knights and president for the past four years, has resigned [PlessPix]

Glenorchy Knights president Tony Bacic has resigned.

He held the position for the past four years, a time during which Knights won the Southern Championship title three years in a row and earned promotion to the NPL Tasmania top-flight competition.

It was also under Bacic’s tenure that the Knights secured the KGV Park headquarters building as their new club rooms.

Renovations have yet to begin on the building.

Bacic cited family reasons for his resignation.

Glenorchy Knights issued the following media release yesterday:

“Glenorchy Knights FC wishes to advise that Tony Bacic has recently resigned as President of our club.
“Tony has been our President for the last four years. Whilst we are saddened to see Tony step aside, we acknowledge his significant contribution, commitment and what he has achieved for the Glenorchy Knights over that time.
“Tony’s leadership, hard work and dedication cannot be overstated. One of his most significant achievements has been to oversee the return of Glenorchy Knights to the top tier of football in Tasmania, the National Premier League. His vision and leadership has also seen the establishment of the Knights Football Academy for our youth, the inclusion of players from overseas, the securing of key financial sponsors, a reconnection of our club to the National Croatian Soccer Tournament and the growth of a strong and motivated committee.
“Tony’s leadership and ongoing legacy is perhaps best signified by the Glenorchy Knights securing a home club room at KGV Football Park. The work to enable this to happen and his commitment to ensure the Glenorchy Knights have a true foundation from which to continue to nurture and grow players of the future was always his priority.
“We wish Tony the very best and look forward to his continued support at future club events and games.
“Thank you Tony for the commitment and support you have given our players, supporters, coaches, club staff, the committee and Tasmanian football.
“The Annual General Meeting for the Glenorchy Knights will be held on Tuesday 3 December, 7pm at KGV Football House. Vice President Linda Bonnitcha will take on the role of President in the interim.”