Monday, April 20, 2020

1974 saw 100 games postponed and needing to be played

Photo:  Devonport, who won the Combined North and North-West League and contested the 1974 State Final against Croatia Glenorchy.

Croatia Glenorchy, coached by Tony Skaro, won the Cambridge League (Southern Tasmanian) title in 1974 and went on to win the State title by defeating Devonport home and away.

Croatia downed Devonport 3-0 at South Hobart in the first leg and 2-1 away in Devonport to win 5-1 on aggregate.

At the national level, The Socceroos first qualified for the World Cup Finals in 1974 under coach Rale Rasic.

Australia didn’t win a game in their group, losing to West Germany, the ultimate World Cup winners, and East Germany, but drawing 0-0 with Chile in the remaining group game.

Attacking midfielder Ray Bartz did not accompany the Socceroos to West Germany as he almost died after suffering a karate chop to the throat in a pre-tournament ‘friendly’ against Uruguay in Sydney on 27 April 1974.

He survived after hospital treatment, but the injury ended his career.

Australia won 2-0, but the referee almost abandoned the game because of the violence perpetrated by the Uruguayans in a disgraceful display which saw the South Americans reduced to 10 players after the assault on Baartz.

There was trouble in Tasmanian football, too.  Police had to escort referee Barry Powell from the field at South Hobart after Rapid had beaten Olympia 5-2.  Ken Baker was the Rapid coach at the time, having been appointed coach after playing for Dnipro in 1973.

A spectator kicked Powell in the stomach and police had to force their way through the large crowd to arrest the offender and take him from the ground.

It’s interesting to look at the prize money on offer at the time.  Juventus had won the 1973 title and were awarded the princely sum of $170.  Second-placed Croatia Glenorchy won $120 and third-placed Olympia $110.

Photo:  The 1974 Rosebery team.  Back Row (L-R):  Wilf Whittaker, Warwick Davis, Bob Farrow, Bill Michtits, Robert Hetherington, Jerry Perkins, Ken Wright, Sotero Perez.  Front Row (L-R):  Alan McLoughlin, Alan Gibson, Tommy Docherty, Stephen Wright, Danny Thurocza.  

Rosebery, a team from the West Coast mining town, had a team in the Combined Soccer League in the north of Tasmania for the second consecutive year.

In 1973, Rosebery had travelled a total of 9,600km for their league matches and it was the same in 1974.  On one weekend, they had a round trip of 465km when they played Launceston United in Launceston.

Former Socceroo Mike Denton was playing for Burnie Spartans in 1974 and he was as deadly as ever when it came to scoring goals.  Jim Witheford, the soccer writer for The Examiner, described Denton’s opening goal in the 2-2 draw with Launceston Croatia in this way:  “Denton turned on a one-cent piece to drive home a beauty”.

The yellow and red cards for cautions and dismissals, respectively, were introduced to Tasmanian football in 1974.

In relation to referees, 82-year-old Norm Evans was made a Life Member of the Australian Soccer Referees’ Association.  Evans had played for South Hobart in the club’s inaugural season in 1910.

Several youngsters were starting to make their mark in football.  Bill Kirkpatrick was a star of Metro at just 15 years of age in a 2-2 draw with University in an Ampol Cup match, while Dominic Fraraccio and Brayden Carter were selected to train with the Australian Schoolboys squad in preparation for the game against the touring England Schoolboys.

Fraraccio made the side and played for the last 25 minutes in the 2-0 loss to England at the Sydney Sports Ground on 11 August 1974.

Jim Mackinnon, who later became a major benefactor of the game, made his mark by scoring twice for Caledonians in a 3-2 win over White Eagles in 1974.

Kim Barker, who eventually became Tasmania’s top referee for nine years in a row, was just 11 years-old in 1974 and he made the Guinness Book of World Records when he scored 21 goals in an Under-12 game for South Hobart, who beat Hutchins 25-0.

John Genovesi, a young star for Juventus in 1974, was selected for Australia’s Under-23s to tour Indonesia.  Genovesi played in a practice match in Sydney but he was injured in the team’s first training session in Indonesia and didn’t play on the three-match tour.

Don Farmery arrived in Hobart to play for Rapid in 1974.  He had been playing for SC Chelsea in Sydney and went on to star for Rapid in succeeding seasons.

Taroona Ajax signed a player from Holland to join some of their Dutch players.  It was not surprising given their name at the time!

Photo:  The Combined North and North-West representative team that travelled to Melbourne in 1974 to play Victoria.  Back Row (L-R):  P Calcraft (coach), S McCormack (Launceston United), P Shegog and M Bellchambers (Ulverstone), J Hodge (Olympic), R Wesson (Juventus), M Perkins (Rosebery), A Gray (manager).  Front Row (l-R):  R Knight (Croatia), W Eastley (Burnie Rovers), L Hodge (Olympic), T Strickland (George Town), P Rosevear (Matric), D Mallett (St Leonard's). [Absent:  M Newall (Burnie Spartans), C Baird (Devonport), C Gambles (Launceston United). 

Croatia, who were to be the 1974 champions, began their campaign with a thrilling 8-5 win over White Eagles, after being 4-3 down at the interval, at South Hobart in April.  Eagles got back to 5-5 before three late goals gave Croatia the win.

Milan Lakoseljac, after whom the present-day Lakoseljac Cup is named, netted four goals for Croatia.  Kevin Leung hit a hat-trick and the remaining goal was an own-goal.

The squads that day were:

Croatia:  Eddie Puclin, Alistair Payne, Dudley Hall, Andy Collins, Frank Letec, Willy Peters, Aldo Prodan, Kevin Leung, Milan Lakoseljac, Tony Skaro (captain/coach), George Sarfalvy, Denis Trueman, Ante Bolonja.

White Eagles:  Walter Bucher, Darby Conlan, Karl Schwesinger (captain), Jakov Plazonic, Peter Thompson, Dave Stoddart Snr, Nick Drascovic, Clive Ormrod, Ian Stewart, Alex Alwan, Greg Joughin (Reserves:  Leaman, Bobby Osuchowski, Bogdan Dora).

Croatia were also involved in a thriller later in the season when they beat Juventus 4-3 through goals by Lakoseljac, Chris Collins, Letec and Leung.  Juventus replied with two goals by Ken Worden and one by Stewart.

The weather badly affected the Tasmanian season in late 1974 and one weekend, for the first time in 20 years, there were 8 top-flight games scheduled to make up for earlier postponements.

By July 1974, there were 100 games postponed in all and administrators were left scratching their heads as they tried to re-schedule fixtures.  Croatia were already champions when they played their final roster match of the season against Dnipro.

Photo:  Tommy Wright (left) and former Olympia team-mate Norm Stanton attend a game at Warrior Park nowadays [PlessPix]

Olympia player Tommy Wright showed he was good in other sports, too.  He won the 1974 heavyweight blue belt State title in Tae Kwon Do.

To round off the season, Dnipro’s Billy Jones won the 1974 Rothmans Gold Medal as the State’s best-and-fairest footballer.


Anonymous said...

I remember that 8-5 Croatia-White Eagles game at South Hobart like it was (almost) yesterday, Walter. The match was as unforgettable as the scoreline suggests. And it was Glasser & Parker's pin-up (and my favourite player at the time), George Sarfalvy, who played for Croatia that day, not his Dad Alex.

Walter said...

Of course it was George and not his Dad, Alex, who was the doyen of Tasmanian coaches in the 1960s. Sorry about that, George. All fixed now. Cheers! Walter

Brian Young said...

Combined N & NW photo, rear second from left, John McCormack...

Oxford said...

Good to see Tommy Wright smiling as usual. I was asked in the early nineties who I thought was the 'hardest' player in Tasmania at the time, I asked back "on, or off the park and in state league or all competitions"? They said all of this to which my reply was Tommy Wright. Tommy was still playing in the lower divisions and was not a 'dirty' player, but the question was in relation to the 'hardest'.

John Skaro said...

On the fixture pile-up, my memory may be playing tricks... but I think Rapid beat Croatia 3-2 on a Saturday to win the Ampol Cup Final, and I think Croatia beat them 2-1 the next day to secure the League title. But perhaps those two games have just compressed in my mind over the intervening 46 years, and that wasn't so.