West Perth Macedonia won their first ever State League Championship in 1983 when they won nineteen games, drew two and lost only one - and that to Inglewood Kiev, with whom they share a ground. They scored an amazing seventy-four goals and had only sixteen netted against them.
Where would you spread the credit for such an incredible performance? Would you say it was the fantastic scoring ability of Paul Tombides, the top scorer in the State League, with 29 to his credit - scoring in every game he played in except two. Or was it due to his cohort, Andy Sharp, who seemed to be able to fill the breach when Tombides was off target, notching up fifteen goals himself, thus playing a large part in his club's success.
But then, look at the goals against and you would have to consider the Macedonian defence for accolades. The decisive work and distribution by their defence was always a talking point, and the prowess of Steve Tombides, Steve Green, Jim Davies and Neil Blunt made it one of the most respected combinations in the game. Also, how can one ignore the contributions by Campbell, Proctor, Alavakis, O'Donoghue and other players who came in at the crucial moments to fill temporarily vacated berths with distinction.
In the final analysis it must be put down to teamwork, fostered and enlivened by coach Colin Ashley as well as his club committee and supporters. Whatever the reason, the Macedonian Lions fully deserved all the accolades they received at the end of the season and proudly accepted the title of Kings of the Soccer Jungle.
What happened to the other predators in the State League? Last year's champions Spearwood Dalmatinac tigerishly fought to match the Macedonian achievement and for most of the season were in touch. A mere slip by the leaders could have let them in. In fact just after half way in the season the two teams were separated by goal difference only, but in the end the Dallies succombed to the inevitable when they were beaten at home by Kiev in the last but one game of the season.
Inglewood Kiev were out of the top at the half way mark, but secured third place soon after and from then on retained that position to the end, 21 points behind the winners. With one match to go, Azzurri and Gosnells City were on identical points. Azzurri managed a draw against lowly Melville Alemannia, and Gosnells City went down to Spearwood Dalmatinac by four goals to two and these results just allowed Azzurri to make the Top Four.
At the other end of the table Forrestfield hit bottom early on and never relinquished the position for the whole season. They were joined by Melville Alemannia who started off well but were unable to maintain the pressure. Floreat Athena escaped relegation by one point and this was achieved in the last game of the season with a narrow 3-2 win over Kingsway Olympic. Such is the movement of players at the end of the season that clubs look to be only shadows of their former selves as they now face the new year. Both Macedonia and Dalmatinac should be to the fore again with a strong challenge coming from East Fremantle Tricolore.
After over twenty years of competition, the D'Orsogna Brothers decided to upgrade their trophy to a standard in keeping with the high esteem their competition engenders. A design competition was held with substantial prize money awarded and the eventual successful design resulted in a unique creation of a trophy which was won for the first time this year.
Special Preliminary Round
This round, played on 13th March, only involved twelve teams from which there were no unexpected results and the winners went on to join in the Preliminary Round which included Second, Third, Fourth Divisions plus teams from the Amateur Soccer Association and P.A.S.S.A. There was an immediate shock result when the Amateur Club Fern- dale United defeated Third Division Rockingham United by six goals to three. Another amateur club, Chindits, disposed of Swan Athletic, otherwise it was as near as could be expected.
First Round Proper
This was the time when the big guns from the State League joined the competition with some trepidation, for invariably some of them make their exit to teams from the lower echelon. But all State League clubs breathed a sigh of relief as all of those who fell by the wayside were eliminated by other clubs from their own league. North Perth Croatia and Forrestfield went out beaten by Perth Azzurri and Gosnells City respectively. The only non-Federation club to go in to the second round was Mandurah.
Gallant Mandurah were defeated by four goals to one by Osborne Park Galeb but the shock of the round was Bayswater Inter's 2-1 defeat of Perth Azzurri, inflicted at Dorrien Gardens. And the holders of the cup, Gosnells City, were knocked out by Spearwood Dalmatinac.
Bassendean Caledonian and Bayswater Inter were the last of the lower division clubs left in, but they were despatched by East Fremantle Tricolore and Spearwood Dalmatinac.
Predictably, one supposes, both semi finals were between State League teams. Tricolore were too good for King sway Olympic, beating them four goals to two. West Perth Macedonia lost to Spearwood Dalmatinac by 6 goals to 1, after the infamous incident of a spectator encroaching on to the field and striking one of the players.
Dorrien Gardens was packed as the two teams took the field, with the new trophy looking resplendent on its table. It was certainly enough incentive for both teams to provide an exciting game, and so it turned out. Big Frank Smerilli, who once played for Tricolore, on this day was their nemesis. He scored a brilliant hat trick against his old club. Kevin Elliott added Dalmatinac's fourth goal, and Andy Godfrey scored in the fifty-ninth minute. Unfortunately it was his only conversion from several opportunities and Spearwood Dalmatinac deservedly ran out winners of the new D'Orsogna Cup. Frank Smerilli was selected by the representatives of the media as man of the match, and received the D'Orsogna Gold Medallion at a ceremony at his club house at a later date.
After a one year lapse, the State League came back into the night series and we were pleased to have it sponsored by Coca Cola, who, over the past years have been significantly involved in soccer at national youth level. As all twelve State League sides were to play, the competition was divided into three groups of four, with the winner of each group and the best runner-up over air groups going through to make a top four situation.
After the preliminary rounds were completed West Perth Macedonia headed their group, having won three games and scored ten goals in the process, they left Forrestfield United, Melville Alemannia and Spearwood Dalmatinacs by the wayside as they went on to the finals. Group 'B' was won by Gosnells City, they won their three games against East Fremantle Tricolore, Floreat Athena and Osborne Park Galeb and netted nine times in the process. Although losing to Kingsway Olympic in their group, Perth Azzurri was the leader in the end, and were joined by Inglewood Kiev who were the best of the runners-up. They had to meet in the first semi-final and Kiev were vistors by a single goal scored by Johnny Davidson.
In the other semi-final, West Perth Macedonia easily put paid to Gosnells' hopes with a comfortable three-nil victory, with Steve and Paul Tombides scoring one each and McCulloch getting the third. Gosnells would have hoped for better things in the preliminary final, but it was not to be their year and they were put into the spectator bracket when defeated three nil by Inglewood Kiev. We now had the situation where Inglewood Kiev, who had not won their group, were in the final of the competition. Needless to say they were given little chance by the experts, against the formidable line up of West Perth Macedonia.
The final began slowly enough with both teams probing for openings and few scoring schances came for either side in the goal-less first half. But after the interval the game became a ding dong affair, keeping the crowd on its feet and the referee Barry Harwood on his toes controlling the players, seven of whom were booked during the course of the match. The final whistle came with no result and so it went into extra time, but by then Macedonia were one man short as Jim Davies had been dismissed after his second cautionable offence. It was Paddy Morris who put the issue beyond doubt when he scored in the first period of extra time. A delighted, if somewhat surprised, Inglewood Kiev were presented with the first Coca Cola Night Series Trophy by Mike Pritchett, marketing manager for Coca Cola Bottlers, Perth.
TOP FOUR PLAY-OFFS
Semi-Finals The chant of 'five-one, five-one' echoed around the Inglewood Soccer Ground as the elated Macedonian's cheered their team from the field after their resounding victory over Spearwood Dalmatinac. The West Perth Macedonia team had clinically torn the Spearwood Dalmatinac team to shreds as they romped to a five-one win. No doubt many supporters could see it as retribution for that six-one defeat in the D'Orsogna Cup semi-final. Although the Dallies were without five of their regular players, nothing should be taken from the win by Macedonia, who played in the same manner as they had througuout the league season. In the other semi-final, young Chris Todd scored the only goal of the match, to give Inglewood Kiev victory over Perth Azzurri.
Preliminary Final A much stronger Spearwood Dalmatinac faced Inglewood Kiev, but the game still went to extra time before a result was forthcoming. It was not the best advertisement for exciting soccer but it was nearly the end of a very long and tiring season. Mark O'Keefe opened the scoring for the Dallies in the 29th minute and they went off as leaders at half time. After the interval Kiev attacked strongly and equalised, then Lee Adam scored with a superbly taken free kick. In extra time Kevin Elliott was given credit for a goal that was thought to have come off a defending player.
Grand Final No one would have been surprised if Spearwood Dalmatinac had taken the field with some apprehension after their drubbing in the semi-final, but this was far from the case, and they came out prepared to give as much as they got. Between them the two teams turned on a display of soccer that was a mixture of skill and power which provided the large crowd with a grand final to remember. The game was not for the fainthearted and some of the tackles, although accepted in the spirit of the game by the players, brought shouts of protests from the packed terraces.
As the game swayed from end to end, few were confident enough to predict its final outcome. Most thought it allover when Macedonia went into a three-one lead through goals by Steve Tombides, Chris Proctor and Andy Sharp. Spearwood Dalmatinac's sole reply had been a deflection by a Macedonia player. The game came alive again when Phil Middleton, who had come on as a substitute, scored an excellent goal from close in. Spearwood Dalmatinac applied more pressure but West Perth Macedonia managed to last out to be lauded as the Top Four cup winners and State League Champions of W.A.
Brent Atherton, 33 year old soccer dynamo of Forrestfield United, after years of consistent high polling in the Rothmans Gold Medal, finally took off the coveted award at the Sheraton-Perth Hotel. Due to certain restrictions imposed on advertising in 1983, Rothmans Gold Medal Award was moved to the Golden Ballroom of the Sheraton-Perth Hotel and for the first time it did not go to air on Channel Nine. The scoreboard was a great improvement on those used in previous counts and it was a shame that it could not have been seen in all its glory on the TV.
Certainly the setting was more in keeping with the presentation of soccer's most prestigious individual award, than the barn-like structure of the Channel Nine studios. It was equally fitting that one of the most popular players in W.A. should finally receive the honour that had eluded him since he first came to Perth in 1976. When the final count indicated that Brent Atherton had made it by six points, the whole crowd spontaneously rose to its feet to give him a standing ovation. In accepting the medal, Brent said it was the proudest moment in his sporting life and he paid tribute to the players and officials of Forrestfield United Club.
Ricky Davis of Floreat Athena had been the favourite for quite a long period, as he had led the publicised voting almost from the start, but in the final four weeks of secret voting, he polled very few votes. He was nursing a slight injury to his leg that would not have enhanced his, chances. Kevin Elliot of Spearwood Dalmatinac came third, and two players who polled very well but only played part of the season, were Gary Marocchi and Norrie Sutton. As has been the practice over the past few years, presentations were made to the best players in certain positions - Paul Tombides won the best striker award, he had scored 29 league goals. The defender of the year was Ricky Davis, and the midfield award went to Gary Marocchi. These awards are determined by votes from independent observers who have been selected by the Soccer Federation.
Osborne Park Galeb took the plunge and entered into a scheme to bring George Best here to play one game. The gamble probably did not meet with the success it deserved, but the club should be thanked by all those who had the opportunity to see this living legend in action. Without doubt he contributed to the two-one victory at Galeb had over Melville Alemannia that day. He scored the first goal of the match in the opening minutes and his ability to find open space worried the Melville defence all the time.
His ball control and accurate distribution of the ball was a delight to watch. There was hardly a square inch of the field that he did not, at some stage, appear generally to receive the ball and then send a colleague on the attack with a pin point pass. But he was tenacious in the tackle and Galeb's second goal came when he gathered the ball and found Pragnell on the wing, he centred it to find Johnny Fiamengo who had no problem in scoring. Melville Alemannia's Hulston had scored an equaliser in the first half but Best's performance in the latter part of the game made the difference and enabled Galeb to pick up full points.
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