Glenorchy Knights

Club History

The Croatia-Hobart Soccer Club was founded in 1956 when a group of young Croatians kicking the ball around on Cadburys Reserve after work each day decided to form a club. Friendly matches were held against other clubs until the club was registered and joined the Tasmanian Soccer Association in 1957 in Division Two. Hard work and enthusiasm enabled the club to develop and eventually win the 1959 Division Two premiership. This led to promotion in 1960 to the highest level of competition, being the Southern Premier League, where the club has remained ever since.

  • 1959

The club finished fourth in 1960 and the leading goalscorer was Charlie Knapek. The club did not fulfil earlier promise over the next two seasons and nearly went out of existence due to discontent and only three roster wins in 1962, one being a forfeit by Juventus. It ended up finishing fifth.

Progress improved in 1963 when a non-Croatian, Mark Hughes, was appointed Chairman and the club began to work more effectively with the Tasmanian Soccer Association. The team was an all-Croatian side except for the coach, John Aldridge who was English. The club won the inaugural state-wide knockout competition, which was called the Ampol Cup, by defeating Olympia 1-0, the winning goal being a penalty scored by Ismet Gjurbuzovic.

In 1964, Peter Basic was transferred from Melbourne Croatia and took over as player/coach. The club won the Falklinder Cup by defeating Caledonians 3-0 and finished a respectable third. Over the next five years, the club devoted much of its efforts into establishing a stronger senior team by recruiting players from various Croatian clubs in Victoria. The club made the State-wide Ampol Cup final again in 1968, but lost to Olympia 2-1. Success came in 1969 when, under the coaching of Alex Sarfalvy, the club won its second Ampol Cup, defeating Hobart Juventus 4-0. The club finished fifth on the ladder in 1968 and third in 1969. In 1970, Alex Sarfalvy was reappointed coach and more success followed when the club won the ultimate aim of the treble in Tasmanian soccer, being the Ampol Cup, the Southern Cambridge League and the State Premiership.

  • 1970 Premiers

After a successful 1970 season, in 1971 the club finished second. John Kirkpatrick was appointed coach in 1972 to instill discipline and the club finished equal top of the ladder with Hobart Juventus but lost the premiership on goal difference. The club still had one victory to celebrate in 1972, defeating Caledonian 6-3 in the final of the Lloyd Tristino Cup. The club finished second again in 1973, meaning it had finished in this position for three seasons in a row.

In 1974, Tony Skaro took over as coach and won the 1974 premiership and state champion play-off and in 1975, Walter Worsey led the club to its first ever back-to-back premierships and state champion titles. Walter Worsey continued as coach for the next two seasons, finishing fifth in 1976 and second in 1977.

As an indicator of the clubs strength during the 1970s, five players won the 'Jack Cade Player-of-the-Year' trophy. These were Frank Letec in 1970, Joe Udovicic in 1971, Dudley Hall in 1972, Eddie Puclin in 1975 and Willy Peters in 1978. Captain Dudley Hall made it a double celebration in 1975 by also winning the Rothmans Gold Medal.

In 1978, a State-wide League format was introduced and the club was an automatic choice for entry. With Alex Sarfalvy back as coach, the club finished equal top of the ladder with White Eagles but had to settle for second position on goal difference. The club was compensated by winning the 1978 Ampol Cup and the Cadbury Cup, the first team to win the Ampol/Cadbury Cup double.

In 1979, Brian Davidson became player/coach and the club again reached the final of the Ampol Cup, but lost 2-1 to Rapid. Brian Davidson also won the Rothmans Gold Medal in 1979 and 1980, to become the first and only player at the club to win the medal in successive years. In 1980, Tony Skaro returned as coach and the club finished second.

  • 1978 Ampol Cup

It would be fourteen years before the club won another major title, the 1992 state-wide premiership. During this time, however, it gained a reputation as a battling cup side, being regular winners of a number of cup tournaments such as the Michael The Tailor Pre-season Trophy in 1979, 1982 and 1983 and the Cadbury Trophy in 1985 and 1992. Apart from 1985 and 1986, when the club finished second, it did not fair well in the 1980s finishing at the mid to bottom end of the ladder.

By 1988, the state league returned and the club finished sixth. However, in 1989, a mass exodus occurred and the club plummeted to the bottom of the ladder winning only four points for the season. The club did not fair much better in the 1990 season, although there was some celebrations with Chris Barrell winning the 1990 Vic Tuting Silver Medal.

Performance improved by the 1992 season when the club finished fourth. However, the final-four play-off system to decide the premiership had been reintroduced and the club made it to the Grand Final and defeated Devonport (which had finished on top of the league), 1-0. The club finished third in 1993 and 21 year old midfielder Tom Huigsloot won the Vic Tuting Silver Medal. The reserves, coached by Chris Barrell, won their first ever premiership at state-wide level in 1994.

The club faced its most testing moment in 1997 when ethnic club names were banned. The inevitable was eventually accepted and the club changed its name from Croatia-Glenorchy to Glenorchy Knights. The club finished second in 1998, one point behind league winners Devonport. Midfielder Scott Hadley also won the 1998 Vic Tuting Silver Medal.

  • 1993 Tom Huigslot wins Vic Tuting Silver Medal

The 1999 season showed great promise with the club finishing third and with Brendan Lakoseljac as the leagues top goalscorer with 24 goals. Ken Morten had taken over as coach and entered the club into the Steve Hudson Cup, which it won by defeating Riverside Olympic 2-1 and becoming the first southern side to win this northern pre-season competition. The club also won the 1999 Final-Five series from third position.

This was a sign of great things to come and in 2000 the club won the Steve Hudson Cup, the inaugural Milan Lakoseljac Cup, Final-Five Series and the Southern Premiership. It also made the Summer Cup final but lost to New Town Eagles. Brendan Lakoseljac was the leading league goalscorer with 29 goals. JMK were the new sponsors of the statewide cup and named it after their highly valued employee, Milan Lakoseljac, who had passed away in 1999. Much to the delight of supporters, the club won the inaugural competition defeating Kingborough 3-0. 2000 was also a successful season for the reserves who won the premiership. This was the first time in the club's history that both the reserves and seniors had won a premiership in the same year. To finish a highly successful season, striker and midfielder, Brett Pullen convincingly won the Vic Tuting Silver Medal with 22 votes.

  • 2000 Premiers

The club found the success of 2000 hard to follow and, for a frustrating four seasons in a row, finished in third position and lost a number of titles. These included the 2001 Milan Lakoseljac Cup, the 2001 Final-Five series and the 2003 Milan Lakoseljac Cup. It did however win the 2003 Steve Hudson Cup, the southern Summer Cup and the 2004 Final-Five Series and Brendan Lakoseljac was the top league goalscorer in 2002 with 37 goals. The reserves, under the coaching of former player, Mark Broadbent, also won the 2003 Southern Premiership, as well as the 2002 and 2003 Final-Five Series.

Other teams at the club were also successful with premierships won in the under-23s (coached by Dale Itchins) in 2001 and the under-22 division (coached by Ivan Vucica and Branko Marin) in 2002. The under-23s also won the 2001 Summer Cup and the under-23 Knockout Cup. The third division team won back-to-back premierships in 2003 and 2004.

Meanwhile, women's soccer had been reintroduced to the club in 2000 following previous attempts to establish a team during the 1980s and in 1994. In 2001 it won the Women's Division One premiership. This led to promotion to the Womens Premier League in 2002. Former club goalkeeper, Rodney Tattam, was appointed coach and worked hard over the next three seasons to build a highly competitive team that were unlucky runners-up in two summer cup competitions following penalty shoot-outs and narrowly missed out on winning a premiership title.

  • 2001 Women's League Premiers

In 2005 under the coaching of Eamonn Kelly, the club repeated the success of the 2000 season by completely dominating the competition. This included winning the southern premiership, Milan Lakoseljac Cup for the second time, Final-Five series and State Championship. In 2006, the club won the Southern Premiership again. This was the second time in its 50-year history that it had won back-to-back premierships. The beginning of 2007 saw the club change its name again with the word Soccer replaced by Football. However after the success of previous two seasons the club finished a disappointing fifth.

  • 2005 Premiers
  • 2005 Laka

Despite having a disappointing 2012 season the Club won a passionate and heart felt victory with the state-wide Milan Lakoseljac Memorial Trophy.

2013 saw the launch of the revamped state-wide league - Victory League.  The Knights were successful in securing a licence under the new structure with 5 teams from the south of the state represented and 3 teams from the north.  The club fielded a relatively young and inexperienced squad only managing 7th position.

A book detailing the full history of the Glenorchy Knights is available from the Glenorchy Croatian club. This comprehensive book has been written by Marina Brkic.

Honours

  • State Championship: 6 times (1963,1970,1974,1975,1992,2005)
  • State Championship Runners-up: 4 times (1967,1978,1980, 2006)
  • Southern Premierships: 6 times (1970,1974,1975, 2000,2005,2006)
  • Southern Premier Runners-up: 8 times (1971,1972,1973,1977,1985,1986,1998,2002)
  • KO Cup Winners: 5 times (1963,1969,1970,1978,2000)
  • KO Cup Runners-up: 4 times (1968,1974,2001,2003)
  • Summer Cup Winners: 5 times (1979,1982,1983,1993,2003)
  • Cadbury Charity Cup Winners: once (1993)
  • Cadbury Trophy Winners: 3 times (1978,1985,1992)
  • Falkinder and Association Cup Winners: once (1964)
  • Falkinder and Association Cup Runners-up: 5 times (1962,1963,1966,1970,1973)
  • Lloyd Triestino Cup Winners: 2 times (1972,1973)
  • Milan Lakoseljac Memorial Trophy Winners: 3 times (2000, 2005, 2012)