It was a strange start to the 1987 Emu Export State League soccer season. Bayswater Inter, so impressive in winning the 1987 Night Series, went five games before they earned their first point, when they managed a shaky 1-1 draw with Inglewood Kiev at Bayswater Oval. Rene DeKoning was involved in both goals, giving away a penalty allowing Kiev to take the lead and then making amends by scoring himself to force a draw.
At this stage Azzurri were in all sorts of trouble, having won only two and lost three games. They had experimented with a different system of team control which was based on the UK method where clubs have a coach and a manager, with the latter in the authoritative position. But the club was not happy with the method and on the 28th April they relieved John Davies of his position, leaving coach, David Harrison, in sole charge.
Stirling Macedonia, the ultimate winners of the league, started well. By the fifth game they were in fifth place, but only three points separated first and sixth place. They too changed their coach, Bill Murray having to leave for business reasons, saw former Socceroo and State team star, Ray Ilott, take over at Macedonia Park.
After five games, newly promoted Kingsway Olympic were at the top, followed by 1986 Champions, Spearwood Dalmatinac. Olympic at that stage were the only club who had not lost a game and another distinction was that they retained the coach who won them promotion and kept John O'Connell throughout 1987. Floreat Athena were in seventh place under coach Kenny Worden and were to go on to win the D'Orsogna Cup as well as have a fairly good league season. Gosnells City were in third place, only one point behind the leaders, Inglewood Kiev were on six points and below them were Galeb, Cockburn, Bayswater and Balga in that order, with Balga not showing a solitary point.
But, as usual, as the season progressed a pattern emerged. The 1986 Champions had a brief spell of one week at the top at the sixth week, but from then on it was Macedonia and Floreat Athena who seemd to alternate each week at the top of the table until at the twelfth game Macedonia went ahead and their flag was proudly prominent right to the close of the season, finally scoring 52 points which was ten ahead of their nearest rivals, Azzurri.
David Harrison and the Azzurri Club must be complimented on their recovery after a horrendous start to the season. Spearwood Dalmatinac were another club bedevilled with coach problems. Matt Pearson, who had led them to numerous honours over the past few years, was struck down by injuries which kept him away from training and playing. Stuart Kamasz assumed the coaching position but by the fifteenth game they had dropped out of the four, never to recover.
East Fremantle Tricolore, after a tremendous start, faded away in the middle of the year and finished in seventh position. Frank Schaper, their coach, resigned in July and Peter Kolizous took over, but the damage was done and he had little opportunity to improve on their position. The Director of Coaching, Ron Tindall, left the Federation and the only person in the State who was considered sufficiently qualified to fill the appointment was Bayswater Inters' coach, John Ward. When the job was offered to him he accepted, and Bayswater, after a short period, replaced him with Jimmy Dunne who had had tremendous league experience in the United Kingdom as well as successful coaching stints in the National Soccer League. Bayswater did well to finish in sixth place after an atrocious start to the season.
Gosnells City, one of the few clubs who did not change their coach, seemingly, opened the season on a successful note, although they lost their first game to Galeb. They then had a run of wins beating, Athena, Bayswater and Balga. Unfortunately they did not win again until they met Balga in the return match when they won 1-0. Derek Henderson coached Inglewood Kiev for some of the year, but then came the parting of the ways and he was eventually replaced by Colin Ashley. But it was a bad year for the club, having a situation similar to Gosnells, Kiev beat Galeb 1-0 on the 11th April. And had to wait until the 14th July before they gained their next win, which was again against Galeb.
Cockburn United flirted with the relegation game for most of the year, but thankfully for them, never made any lasting union with the bottom two. Their first State League win, after their promotion, made headlines across the State, when they well and truly dumped Perth Azzurri 3-1 at Beale Park. Alan Taylor was the coach at the time but it was not long after that that he got the same treatment as John Davies and it was then Eddie Abrahams who finally managed to keep the club in the State League.
Balga kept their coach, Brian Gillespie, for the second season, which must be something of a record. Unfortunately they also kept their relegation position in the League never moving above tenth position. Osborne Park Galeb had the biggest turnover of coaches during 1987. They began the season with John Barasich, then Mike Leigh took over for a while, but it was Sauro Iozzelli, well remembered State team fullback, who took over until the end of the season.
The league season finally closed when the Emu Export League Cup and individual medals were presented. In 1987 this most pleasant task was undertaken by Mr Trevor Sprigg, Promotions Officer at the Swan Brewery, at a fabulous function held at Observation City at Scarborough. Some 130 people attended and sat down to a sumptuous meal in a most cordial atmosphere. Mr Terry Edmondson, also with the Swan Brewery, and his wife were present, Mr Edmondson has been most helpful to the Soccer Federation over many years, with sponsorship.
Special guest, Mr Alistair Norwood, was also present and after the league team trophies had been presented, with acclaim, it became an appropriate opportunity for Mr Norwood to present Macedonia's John Hunter, with the magnificent Jeans West Golden Boot Trophy plus a cheque for $1000 for being the highest goalscorer, with 19 goals, for the 1987 season. This Award carries extra bonuses, for instance, should the highest reach 25 goals then he would receive an additional $500 and should he reach 30, then he would receive a further $500.
The D'Orsogna Cup now in its 28th year must be the most democratic soccer competition in the whole of Australia. Each year it begins with the First Round which involves clubs from the amateurs and country associations as well as teams from the Federation's Third and Fourth Divisions. In the Second Round the Second Division became involved with those still left from the First Round and later on in the Third round, the big guns of the State League enter.
The competition is democratic for at this stage a country, amateur or Fourth Division side can play host to the best in Western Australia when a State League club, sometimes at considerable expense, will travel hundreds of miles to fulfil their D'Orsogna Cup obligation. It is something of an occasion when a champion club such as Macedonia travels to Albany for a game, and the hospitality of the country competitors is such that the visitors are only too pleased to make the trip.
The First Round took place on March 28, and Queens Park, Kalamunda, Hampton, Phoenix and University all went through to the First Round proper. The Second Round included the Second Division and it also included teams from the country areas as well as those from the Amateurs and PASSA and it is from these that we generally look for the giant killers. Amateur club Chindits did very well to beat Western Yugal and Albany, playing in the Fourth Division for the first time in 1987, had a tremendous tussle with East Perth Vardar. Locked a 1-1 at fulltime and extra time, it went to ten penalties each before Albany went ahead. Fourth Division side Ashfield Dynamo, thrashed the luckless Geraldton by 7-1.
So came the Third Round and one or two surprises. Canning Corinthians' win over Ferndale United must be considered as something of a feat, as United had not lost a league game during 1986. Ashfield Dynamo would have been pleased with their victory over Morley Windmills, and brave Chindits met State League Floreat Athena at their most ruthless best and went down as Athena scored seven goals in each half of the game. Stirling Macedonia, State League Runners Up in 1986, went to Albany and had a good win and a good time. So the last of the Amateurs and country teams made their exits.
The Fourth Round could well be remembered for the final episode in the story for the lower divisions teams, Queens Park and Ashfield Dynamo, went out beaten 7-0 by Bayswater Inter and Inglewood Kiev respectively. But Canning Corinthians took Balcatta Etna to extra time and only lost the game by the odd goal. Mike Smith helped himself to a hat-trick as Spearwood Dalmatinac beat North Perth Croatia 7-1 and a tight game at Macedonia Park saw Perth Azzurri eliminated by the home team 4-3.
Inglewood Kiev and Spearwood Dalmatinac could not be separated after extra time, they both scored a goal each in the extra segment and as the rules state, a replay was held at the Velodrome on the following Wednesday. This time Dalmatinacjust had the edge as Smith and Lowe scored, while Sutton scored the consolation goal for Kiev. Macedonia thrashed East Fremantle Tricolore 5-0 while Balcatta Etna, no match for Bayswater, lost by an identical score. Floreat Athena easily accounted for Cockburn United when Harry Katsamakis scored three in their clash.
These were both fairly close games but were won fairly comfortably in the end. Floreat Athena, with goals from Paul Wormley and Theo Kalogeracos never gave Bayswater much of a look in. Then on the next day Dalmatinac met Macedonia in a rather bruising confrontation which necessitated referee Dowden issuing five cautions, four to Spearwood and one to their opponents. Goals by Wayne Thorpe, one, and McDarby, two, was enough to take Macedonia into the final.
Dawned the great day and Macedonia dearly wanted to do the double. The last time a team had won both the League and the Cup was in 1981 when Azzurri were successful. They nearly pulled off the big three, but Forrestfield beat them two-one in the Top Four Cup. Floreat Athena's captain, Paul Wormely, won the D'Orsogna Cup medal for 'Man of the Match' deservedly as he led his team into the fray, setting the example by scoring one and being involved in the other two. But both teams should be congratulated for providing an exciting game. The final score ... Athena three, Macedonia two.
All the twelve teams of the State League participated in the 1987 Emu Export Night Series playing once again in two groups of six, so each team had five games in which to exert their dominance or show their weakness.
Gosnells started off like a house on fire, winning both their first games, but did not win another point. Kiev had a solitary win against Kingsway Olympic and finished with three points at the bottom of the table. Olympic did not fare much better, a win against Bayswater and a draw against Macedonia was the best they could do. Macedonia took a 4-0 beating from Bayswater and two draws were not helpful to them. So it was Bayswater Inter and Tricolore who went into the Semi Finals. John Hunter scored the most goals out of the 39 scored during these preliminary rounds.
Floreat Athena with three wins and two draws, deservedly won this group. They were followed by Spearwood Dalmatinac who scored the most goals when they totalled 13 against Athena's 13. Dalmatinac also supplied the highest scorer in Ross Greer who matched John Hunter in the other group with five. Perth Azzurri finished third just one point behind. The game they lost to Cockburn United probably being the deciding factor. Also frustrating for Cockburn who won two games and were never defeated heavily by any side. Balga was in the same boat but did suffer a 5-0 massacre at the hands of Athena. Osborne Park Galeb managed a draw with Floreat Athena but that is the only point they won. Their score-line showed just how they had played ... two for and 17 against.
Near neighbours, Spearwood Dalmatinac and East Fremantle Tricolore had a tough struggle that finally went to shoot-outs when the game was drawn at 2-2. Dalmatinac must have been practicing shoot-outs for they scored four out of the five which is quite a high ratio, whereas the Tricolore players could only manage one. In the second semi final once again it was close, Bayswater just going down to Floreat Athena 3-2, but unfortunately they would have another bite of the cherry in the Preliminary Final.
Bayswater came best out for this encounter with Dalmatinac. Ken Murray and Joe Carrol scoring the two goals that mattered while Dalmatinac could only reply with a solitary conversion by Mike Smith. Mike Smith, by the way, scored all four goals in the preliminary round against Balga.
Grand Final So it was, Bayswater Inter and Floreat Athena, who would decide who would take the lions share of the prize money as well as the magnificent trophy. Bayswater a year ago in the 1986 Final were soundly beaten by Stirling Macedonia and were determined to erase that disappointment, but were up against Floreat Athena who were equally determined to give their coach, Kenny Worden, an opportunity of winning his ninth major title in Australia.
At the end of full and extra time the clubs could not be separated from a 1-1 score. This low scoring was mainly due to some tremendous goalkeeping by the two keepers, Chris Barbas and Steve Martin. It was shame that such a game had to be decided by shoot-outs, but then those are the rules. And it was Bayswater Inter who had the best score-line at the end as they converted three shootouts to Floreat Athena's two and went on to collect $12,500 and the Emu Export Night Soccer Series Trophy.
At the Sheraton Perth Hotel, on Friday October 2, 1987, the scene was set for another spectacular night as Master of Ceremonies, Gary Carvolth, got the seventeenth Rothmans Gold Medal Award function off to a good start. The officials, the stars and players from the past, joined together with David Galwey, State Manager of Rothmans Pall Mall and his guests to sit down to a sumptuous meal as well as all the excitement of the voting that would gradually unfold to announce the win- ner for 1987.
The Guest Speaker for the evening was famed Socceroo, Johnny Warren. His speech concerning the standard growth and progress of soccer in Australia was like a breath of fresh air, no pious platitudes or plaudits for jobs well done, but down to earth constructive criticism befitting a man who has savoured soccer glory at all levels.
As the meal progressed so did the early counting of votes and initially it showed Francis Cole of Gosnells City leading by quite a margin. I do not think I am being rude when I say that many administrators and guests present that evening would have probably murmured Francis Cole! Who is he? Certainly he appeared from out of the blue, no pun intended, but soon players around who had played with or against him dispelled any doubt of his right to be at the top, he was recognised as a skilful and resolute player.
So the voting progressed and as the middle of the season's figures began to emerge it was seen that Cole had not maintained his earlier dominance but was being matched by his club colleague and great friend, Paul Benning. Veteran Gary Marocchi was also polling well, Norrie Sutton, past winner, was in the top four and John Hunter was in with a chance.
But as dessert disappeared from the tables and coffee and mints took its place, Johnny Warren was ready on the stage to make the presentation. Gary Carvolth was ready to call the votes and so it went ... Norrie Sutton 19, Gary Marocchi 20, Paul Benning 20, and the Gosnells City table erupted as faintly above the hub-bub could be heard ... "The winner of the Rothmans Gold Medal Award for 1987 is Francis Cole with 25 votes". After the cameras had stopped flashing and people were sitting discussing the result, it became evident that in all the annals of the Rothmans Gold Medal Award in Western Australia, Gosnells City was the first club to provide both the winner and second place in the same count.
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