10th Birthday All-Stars

Robert Zabica

Craig Naven

Aaron Cole

Jamie Harnwell

Scott Miller

Robbie Gaspar

Gareth Naven

Nick Ward

Michael Garcia

Bobby Despotovski

Stuart Montgomery

During September 2007 invited the West Australian football community to select a ‘team of the decade’ as part of celebrations honouring our 10th birthday. A grand total of 647 people took the time to select their preferred starting eleven from the 45 players we short-listed, and it’s from those that the 10th Birthday All-Stars has been compiled..

The Starting Eleven

Robert ZABICA (Goalkeeper) - Robert Zabica is one of Western Australia’s greatest ever goalkeepers. Born in Spearwood in 1964, Zabica started out with Spearwood Dalmatinac and Stirling Macedonia before embarking on seven successful seasons at Adelaide City where he won two NSL crowns and was named the 1992 Goalkeeper of the Year. He played for Australia on forty-two occasions between 1990 and 1994 before a nagging knee injury forced his international retirement. Zabica returned to playing in 1995 by helping Dalmatinac win the Cup, and at seasons’ end collected the first of four WA Goalkeeper of the Year awards. He took his career tally to 202 NSL games through a spell with Perth Glory after which he played briefly for English side Bradford City. Zabica returned home to play for Bayswater City and Inglewood United before ending his playing days in 2002 at Fremantle City.

Craig NAVEN (Right Back) - Craig Naven was born in Wigan (England) in 1969 and started his career alongside twin brother Gareth at Gosnells City and Bayswater Inter. After playing for Australia at the 1985 FIFA Under-16 World Championship, he commenced a long and highly successful senior career with Perth Italia which would span thirteen seasons. His trophy cabinet could hardly have more substance with five League, six Top Four, five Night Series and three Cup winners’ medals. In addition, he made seventeen appearances for the State between 1992 and 1998. Naven’s time at Dorrien Gardens was interrupted in 1994 when he captained Perth Kangaroos to victory in the Singapore League, and between 1996 and 1998 he turned out for Perth Glory on 29 occasions. Naven ended his career in 2004 after playing his final three seasons with Bassendean Caledonian.

Aaron COLE (Centre Back) - Aaron Cole, born in 1980, has long been recognised as the State League’s premier defender. A product of the fertile Perth S.C. youth system, his debut season at senior level was nothing short of sensational with the imposing defender capturing the 1999 Gold Medal and Rookie of the Year awards. He was a mainstay of the defence, and a firm favourite with the Dorrien Gardens faithful throughout his eight years at the club in which they captured three League, four Top Four, four Night Series and two Cup trophies. Cole got a taste of the national league in early 2001 while on loan to Perth Glory but walked out on the NSL club when a longer deal wasn’t forthcoming. A State junior and youth representative, his senior State debut came against South Australia in 2002. Cole ended his long association with Perth by joining Swan I.C. for the winter of 2007.

Jamie HARNWELL (Centre Back) - One-time Perth Glory captain Jamie Harnwell has lead a charmed career. Born in 1977, he first came to prominence with Sorrento and Kingsway Olympic for whom he gained State representative honours. However, his big break came with the arrival of then new Perth Glory coach Bernd Stange who was quick to spot the big defenders’ potential and made Harnwell one of his first signings. Between 1998 and 2004 he figured prominently and scored some valuable goals to help Glory to three NSL premierships and Grand Final victory on two occasions. His time with Glory was punctuated by a short stint with English club Leyton Orient for whom he made three appearances, while in 2004 he played for Sorrento while the national competition was in recess. Having played his entire career in defence, Harnwell has adapted well to his new role as a goalscorer for Glory in recent years. At the current time his national league tally stands at 192 games and 30 goals.

Scott MILLER (Left Back) - Born in 1972 into a family steeped in the world game, Scott Miller was playing first team at Spearwood Dalmatinac by the time he was 17. He was part of the Perth Italia side that captured the League, Cup and Top Four treble in 1993, and the Perth Kangaroos triumphant S-League campaign of the following year. After a couple of seasons in the national league for Morwell Falcons, he returned home to be part of Perth Glory’s inaugural squad. Miller would go on to be a permanent fixture on the left side of the park for the next nine seasons, twice winning the clubs’ Most Glorious Player award, three NSL premierships and two Grand Finals and taken his national league tally to 276 games. Miller played eleven times for WA and twice for Australia before bringing the curtain down on a sparkling career by helping Sorrento to the 2006 League championship.

Robbie GASPAR (Right Midfield) - Talented midfielder Robbie Gaspar, born in 1981, made his mark on the local scene before embarking on a successful career in Asia. It was while playing for Cockburn City that he shot to prominence in 1999 by being selected in the Australian Schoolboys squad which toured the United Kingdom and ireland. A couple of seasons with national league side Sydney Olympic followed but, unable to break into a star-studded line-up, he returned home in 2001. Gaspar reminded local fans what made him so special during a couple of eye-catching seasons with Perth S.C. where won one League, two Top Four, two Night Series and one Cup winners medals, and gained senior State honours. A desire to play professionally took him to Sabah (Malaysia) for two years followed by successive seasons with QAF (Brunei) and Persita Tangerang (Indonesia). For the past couple of years Gaspar has played a starring role with Indonesia outfit Persita Balikpapan.

Gareth NAVEN (Midfield) - Inaugural Perth Glory captain Gareth Naven was born in Wigan (England) in 1969 and, along with twin brother Craig, honed his skills at Gosnells City and Bayswater Inter. The strong-tackling midfielder gained selection for the Australian Under-16 side in 1985, the Australian Schoolboys in 1987 and the following year stepped up to the NSL with Adelaide City. Naven returned to Perth where he turned out for Perth Italia, winning the 1992 Gold Medal and gained State team selection on twenty occasions. Spells with Sarawak (Malaysia) and Perth Kangaroos (Singapore) preceded his appointment as the inaugural Glory captain, a role he retained until retiring in 2002. In the interim he played 143 NSL games for the club, be part of two premiership winning teams and in 1999/2000 was named the Most Glorious Player. He ended his playing days with Perth with whom he collected seven League, six Top Four, five Night Series and one Cup winners’ medals. Naven was the first Perth Glory Life Membership in 2004.

Nick WARD (Midfield) - Nick Ward is undoubtedly the most exciting player to emerge from Western Australia in the past decade. Born in 1985, the skilful midfielder initially made his mark at E.C.U. Joondalup where he made his first team debut as a teenager. In 2002 he was loaned to Future Glory, gained Australian Schoolboys selection and a place at the Australian Institute of Sport for the following year. His star continued its’ upward trajectory with Australian Under-20 honours and a Perth Glory contract upon the completion of his scholarship. Ward captured the 2004 Gold Medal while playing on loan to Stirling Lions, and was the recipient of the inaugural A-League Rising Star award. In mid-2006, after just 25 national league appearances, he joined English side Queens Park Rangers and spent a period on loan o Brighton and Hove Albion. He is a key member of the Australian Under-23 side currently in qualification for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Michael GARCIA (Left Midfield) - Michael Garcia, born in 1977, gained State junior honours before making his senior debut while still a teenager for Kingsway Olympic. A two-season spell in the NSL with Canberra Cosmos ignited his career and lead to his call-up to the Australian under-20 side. He signed a two-year deal with Perth Glory in 1997 and, after the setback of a knee injury, quickly became an established part of the midfield core. However, Australian Under-23 honours and plans to play abroad were curtailed by ruptured ankle ligaments suffered during trials in England. Spells with Marine Castle United (Singapore) and E.C.U. Joondalup aided his recovery and in 2001 he was instrumental in Sorrento capturing their first ever League title. Two more seasons at Glory saw him collect an NSL premiership and Grand Final winners medal and took his career tally to 84 national league games before an arthritic condition in his left knee ended Garcia’s playing days, age just 25.

Bobby DESPOTOVSKI (Forward) - Bobby Despotovski has been the face of West Australian football for the past decade. Born in Perth in 1971 but raised in Yugoslavia, his senior career began at Floreat Athena in 1992. Seasons with Heidelberg United and Morwell Falcons whet his appetite for the national league so it’s no surprise he jumped at the opportunity to join competition newcomer Perth Glory in 1996. Over the course of ten seasons Despotovski would play a club record 241 games, score a staggering 113 goals, win four Most Glorious Player awards, three NSL premierships, two Grand Finals and was recipient of the inaugural Johnny Warren Medal as the A-League’s best player. In terms of representative football he played for Australia on four occasions, scoring five goals, and scored eight goals in as many outings for the State. After 265 games he retired from national league football in early 2007 to take up a player/coach role at Inglewood United.

Stuart MONTGOMERY (Forward) - It’s a shame Stuart Montgomery, born in 1978, has been given the opportunity to play at a higher level. Time with Kingsway Olympic, Inglewood Falcons and E.C.U. Joondalup sharpened his skills but it was only after being lured to Western Knights that his knack for scoring goals became apparent. Signed as an attacking midfielder in 2002, his on the ball strength and a ‘never say die’ attitude lead to State honours at the end of his first season at Nash Field. It was Montgomery’s early strike that decided the 2003 Night Series final, and the following year spearheaded his club to glory in the League and Top Four competitions. In six seasons with the Knights he’s put away in excess of 100 goals - including their 1,000th goal in top flight competition - and on four occasions collected the clubs’ highest goalscorer trophy.


Jason PETKOVIC (Goalkeeper) - Spearwood-born goalkeeper Jason Petkovic has achieved pretty much everything the game in Australia has to offer. His career began at Spearwood Dalmatinac where Petkovic collected a Pro-League Cup winners medal in 1991, aged 19, and two years later starred in the clubs Night Series win against Stirling Macedonia. In early 1994 he stepped into NSL ranks with Adelaide City where he'd twice be named Goalkeeper of the Year and make the first of fifteen appearances for Australia. Petkovic linked up with Perth Glory late in 1999 and, injury permitting, has been first choice 'keeper under a succession of coaches. Along the way he's added a third Goalkeeper of the Year award, won three NSL premierships, two Grand Finals and increased his national league career tally to 325 games. The only interruption to his time with Glory was a season at Turkish side Konyaspor.

Troy BERNARD (Defender) - Born in 1979, Troy Bernard was very much a product of Floreat Athena youth system. Spotted at a young age, he earned State junior representative honours before quickly rising up through the ranks at club level. He became established in the Floreat first team as a teenager and in 1997 played a key role in the clubs’ League, Night Series and Cup treble. A strong work ethic resulted in his call-up to the State side the following year, while his reputation was further enhanced by a sparkling performance in the 1999 Cup final for which he was named best on ground. 2000 opened with another Night Series winners medal and two years later Bernard became one of the youngest players ever to captain West Australia when, aged 22, he lead the side into battle against South Australia. Bernard was just 25 when he tragically passed away after being electrocuted at work in 2004.

Paul MCVITTIE (Midfield) - Hard-working midfielder Paul McVittie is considered the best import to grace the local stage in the past decade. Born in Newcastle (England) in 1965, he was lured down under by Kelmscott Roos but really made his mark by captaining Stirling Macedonia to League, Night Series and Top Four trebles in 1994 and 1995. He scored seven goals in as many games for Perth Kangaroos and represented the State on 21 occasions between 1993 and 1998. After a stint in the NSL with Canberra Cosmos, he returned west to be part of the inaugural Perth Glory squad, making 43 appearances over two seasons. He was instrumental in Western Knights’ League and Top Four triumphs of 1998, and was presented with the Gold Medal at seasons’ end. Two years later McVittie figured prominently in Fremantle City’s first League success, and helped the Knights claim the 2003 Night Series before retiring at the age of 38.

Michael MIRCO (Midfield) - Whether playing a creative role in midfield, providing the ammunition from out wide or honing in on goal as striker, Michael Mirco has always proved troublesome for opposing defences. Born in 1976, he started out as a junior with Spearwood Dalmatinac and as a teenager broke into first team ranks. A couple of superb seasons resulted in his State team call-up for the 1997 friendly with Singapore. The following year Mirco moved to Fremantle City where he was influential the clubs’ historic capture of the 2000 League title. A stellar return to Cockburn City in 2003 took him to within a whisker of winning the Gold Medal, and for the past five years he’s worked tirelessly in the clubs’ quest to end their long trophy drought. There is no doubt Mirco deserved the opportunity to play at a higher level, and few would argue that he’d have excelled had it been forthcoming.

Andreas OLIVEIRA (Forward) - Lively striker Andreas Oliveira has made life difficult for opposing defences since bursting on the scene as a teenager. Oliveira, born in Perth in 1981 but raised in Chile, made a sensational start to his career by spearheading Perth S.C. to League, Top Four, Night Series and Cup victory in 2001 and 2002. He was part of the State Under-19 team which twice competed at the Tournoi de Croix in France, and in made his senior State debut at the age of 21. After a two-year spell at Floreat Athena he returned to Dorrien Gardens to collect further League and Cup winners’ medals. He played a key role in South Melbourne capturing the 2006 Victorian championship, and the following year helped Perth to another Night Series title. By the end of 2007 Oliveira had scored in excess of 100 goals in State League competition, and had two League, three Top Four, three Night Series and one Cup winners’ medals in his possession.

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This page was last updated on the 5th October, 2007