ON APRIL 2, 2017, we commemorated 40 years to the day the National Soccer League kicked off at Manuka Oval in the ACT with a game between Canberra City and West Adelaide, which ended in a 3-1 win to the visitors.
It’s well known a certain 20-year-old named John Kosmina scored the very first NSL goal, seven minutes into the first half for Adelaide.
What was overlooked, however, is the scorer of the second goal – and that honour went to tall 22-year-old Western Australian defender David Jones, who found the net three minutes into the second half.
For the record, Adelaide’s third was scored by Neil McGaghey after 52 minutes and Canberra’s only counter came from Ian Gruicic in the 75th minute, before getting a red card (along with John Stoddart) for some over-zealous dialogue with the referee.
Jones was born in Fremantle and played his junior football at Kwinana United. He went on to win the Rothman’s Gold Medal (best player) in 1975 before taking the plunge to play in the eastern states with West Adelaide (1977-79).
He then featured with Adelaide City (1980-81), South Melbourne Hellas in ’82 and Preston Makedonia (1982-84) before returning to the West and joining Azzurri.
Jones’ debut senior State game for WA came in 1974 against South Australia. He was also a part of the successful squad that won the Marah Halim trophy in 1975/76.
He later picked up seven caps for the Socceroos (1975-80).
David was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame WA (the Hall of Champions) in 1996. He was also included in the Century of Champions, which salutes WA’s 100 best players.
Whilst people kept pushing the fact that the NSL was the first football code to have a national competition, we must not forget WA and Tasmania were not in it. Perth Glory were admitted in 1996, but Tasmania has yet to figure at national level.
The National Soccer League continued until 2004 with Perth Glory sealing the penultimate and final NSL championships.
Recent Social Media forums have seen a fair number of people thirsting for news about the NSL past and asking the governing body to recognise the event, yet records were primarily at a premium. The only way to find out what the NSL days were like would be to contact the players of influence – of which there are many.
However, this story is solely for our own David Jones, who can feel quietly proud of carving his own wee notch in Australian football.
PICTURED: David Jones (left) receiving his Socceroos cap from the Football Federation’s Peter Friend at the Hall of Fame’s 10th Anniversary in 2006.