FROM THE HALL OF FAME VAULT: It is 10 years since the Football Hall of Fame WA staged what was Western Australia’s first World Cup exhibition at the Perth Town Hall, in May 2010.
It was the 80th anniversary of the FIFA World Cup and the Committee of the Hall of Fame decided to host an exhibition to pay tribute to those West Australian players who had contributed to Australia’s bid for glory in World Cup qualifiers between 1965 and 2010.
The Socceroos had taken part in the World Cup finals in 1974 (Germany) and 2006 (Germany) and the 2010 event, which was held in South Africa, had been the first time Australia had qualified for back-to-back finals.
There was also, at the time of the exhibition being held, a record five West Australians included in Australia’s preliminary 31-man squad – Brad Jones, Rhys Williams, Shane Lowry, Richard Garcia and Nikita Rukavytsa.
Only three made coach Pim Verbeek’s final squad of 23 – Garcia, Rukavytsa and Jones, who, however, withdrew just before the start of the championship following the news that his son had been diagnosed with leukemia.
Apart from the major focus on Australia’s participation, the exhibition – which was titled World Cup Wonders – also highlighted all the other teams who were taking part in South Africa, plus there were tributes to the previous finals all the way back to the first one in Uruguay in 1930.
The Town Hall exhibition was highly successful – drawing many visitors to the centre of Perth – and was later transferred to the Perth City Library for a few weeks. A replica of the World Cup trophy was also on display, and many visitors had photographs taken of them holding the sporting’s greatest prize aloft.
A commemorative 16-page brochure (World Cup Wonders) was produced and, at the conclusion of the exhibition in the Perth Town Hall, a special function was held to present certificates to some of WA’s World Cup participants.
Among those who turned up to receive their certificates (A Salute to WA’s World Cup Marvels) were Gary Marocchi, Robbie Dunn, Robbie Zabica, Ken Boden and Jimmy Pearson (see pic).
Up to 2010 some of the other West Australian who had taken part in World Cup qualifiers were Stan Lazaridis, Shaun Murphy, Chris Coyne, Alistair Edwards, Jason Petkovic, Michael Petkovic, David Tarka, Tony Franken, Scott Miller, David Jones, Adrian Madaschi and Willie Rutherford. At that stage, only Lazaridis had made the cut for a finals squad (2006 although he never made a starting line-up).
A special presentation was later made to referee Eddie Lennie, the first WA whistler to officiate at the World Cup finals (1998 in France).
WA female players who had taken part in the Women’s World Cup, qualifiers and finals, were also lauded on the night (see pic).
Some of the women players who attended were Sandra Brentnall, Tracey Wheeler, Jill Sison, Judy Pettitt and sisters Teresa and Barbara Kozak. Mavis McShane, the widow of Hall of Fame inductee Frank McShane, was a special guest at the event.
Up to 2010, the other West Australians who had taken part in women’s events included Lisa DeVanna, Collette McCallum, Sharon Loveless, Julie Clayton and Anna Senjuschenko.
**FOOTNOTE: Since 2010 many more West Australians have been involved in World Cup squads. On the men’s side they include Trent Sainsbury, Josh Risdon, Adam Taggart, Mark Birighitti. On the women’s side: Samantha Kerr, Lydia Williams and Aivi Luik.