Saturday, April 8, 2023

Vale Tony Skaro (16/05/1941 - 06/04/2023)

Photo:  Tony Skaro goes for a header while playing for Croatia Glenorchy against South Hobart, at South Hobart. 

Ante Duje ‘Tony’ Skaro, the scorer of Tasmania’s goal in the 5-1 loss to English side Cardiff City at Queenborough in 1968, passed away in Melbourne last Thursday.

Tony had not been in the best of health in recent years and passed away with his family by his side after surgery for a broken hip sustained in a recent fall.

He was one of the most feared strikers in Tasmanian football and was a successful senior coach after retiring as a player.

He was born in Tijarica, Dalamatia, Croatia, and after spending time in Italy in the late 1950s, came to Australia on the ship ROMA.

Photo:  Tony Skaro (right) with Billy Vojtek (second from left) at Melbourne Croatia in the early 1960s. 

He lived in the migrant camp of Bonegilla before moving to Melbourne in the early 1960s to join Melbourne Croatia, where he became best friends with Socceroos legend Billy Vojtek.  Vojtek was at his bedside when he passed away.

Tony came to Hobart in 1964 to join Croatia Glenorchy, where he was an immediate sensation as a goalscorer.

He was powerfully built and was passionate, committed and indefatigable as a centre-forward.  He was the bane of the life for many a central defender.

Tony used to say that Olympia’s ‘Noddy’ Quinn was the only centre-half he was never confident of beating.

Photo:  Tony Skaro (extreme left in front row) with one of the great Croatia Glenorchy sides. 

His first marriage, to Maria, was on the day of the 1966 World Cup Final.  His buck’s party the night before had been pretty wild and the next day, the day of the wedding, Tony and his Croatia team-mates were a little worse for wear and lost 12-0 to Quinn’s Olympia side.

Tony played in the Croatia side that won the State Premiership in 1970 and he was captain-coach of Croatia when they again won the State title in 1974.

They just missed out on the clean sweep that year, losing 3-2 to Rapid in the Ampol Cup Final.

Tony coached Rapid the following season before moving to White Eagles as coach in 1976.

Things did not go well there and he was dismissed.  One of the points of contention was that the players could not get used to Tony’s insistence that they eat a raw lemon at half-time rather than an orange!

Photo:  Tony Skaro (extreme left, back row) as captain-coach of the South Hobart title-winning side of 1978. 

He was captain-coach of South Hobart in 1978 and ended a trophy drought at the club by winning the Southern league title that year.

Photo:  Three South Hobart title-winning coaches.  Tony Skaro is in the centre. 

His final Tasmanian coaching stint was with Croatia in 1980, after which he moved back to Melbourne.

It was in Victoria that he coached Malvern City to a league title.

He also coached Bulleen and in 1994 he was appointed as a youth coach at Melbourne Knights, where one of his young players was Mark Viduka.

In that year, he coached Melbourne Knights to victory in the annual Australian Croatian Soccer tournament.

My condolences go to Tony’s family and friends.  I will always remember him as a fierce but fair competitor whose enthusiasm and commitment to the game were infectious.  He was an inspiration to young players.

Photo:  Tony Skaro (third from right, front row) in a Croatia side of the early 1970s.

Photo:  Tony Skaro (extreme right, front row) in the Croatia side of 1964, the season inw hich he arrived in Tasmania from Melbourne Croatia.


Stacey Skaro said...

Thanks for such a lovely post Walter. Dad would have read this with relish x

Steve Darby said...

I just missed him in Tassie, but heard many great things about him. Also sad to hear Ivan the Barber (britzo) has also passed away. He used to scare the life out of me...until I signed for Croatia.

Anonymous said...

My Dida ❤️