Sunday, October 20, 2019

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]


Smudger said...

Some very good photo’s of players I had many good battles with in the 70’s and 80’s Walter , great memories of this group

Rodney Tattam said...

Walter that is amazing Thank you. Please keep the date for next year as you are always invited