Derek

D’Orsogna Cup: A history of champions

AS PART of the continuing celebration of the 60th anniversary of the introduction of semi-professional football in Western Australia in 1960, the State’s leading football historian RICHARD KREIDER looks back at the history of the one-time premier knockout competition, the D’Orsogna Cup.

ALTHOUGH a season of football evolves primarily around the pursuit of a league championship, you usually find an elimination competition or two also taking place to cap off the year. League matches can excite, particularly if it is a genuine derby clash, to settle a championship or stave off relegation, but it is the knockout challenge that animates and elates even the most impassive of football devotees.
The first truly successful knockout contest in Perth was the Charity Cup, which commenced in 1903 and continued right up until 1961. The trophy is a magnificent piece of silverware that stands 91.5cm tall and was donated by Scottish-born engineer William Leslie. He was initially with the Public Works Department and Fremantle Harbour Works before running a successful engineering merchant business (Leslie & Company).


Having held an interest in football in Glasgow, Leslie was no doubt keen to show his support for the game in Western Australia. He gave notice of his intention to donate a trophy in August 1902, in an attempt to prevent clubs from ending a season prematurely, especially when they were out of contention of a league title. In all, the Charity Cup (not once was it used for professional gains) was competed for in 44 seasons over a 58-year period, and also used during World War II as an incentive for what were extremely successful fund-raising games, between two Royal Navy submarine teams called Jolly Roger and the Canaries.
The trophy is now in the hands of the WA Museum, after it was bestowed by WA Soccer Football Association secretary Des Abraham. While it is tempting to condemn Abraham for making such a gesture, it was perhaps in hindsight the best thing he could have done, given how much historical memorabilia has since been lost over many years or destroyed.
The next successful trophy was the D’Orsogna Cup, which in essence signified the inauguration of Federation football, by offering a semi-professional alternative to amateur. Throughout its existence, the D’Orsogna Cup was perhaps the only area of stability in the local code, ever since the Federation took over football in 1960.
The competition wasted little time in becoming extremely popular with football fans. “Finding a sponsor was very hard because the papers would not name sponsors at the time,” said former Federation president Julius Re. “I thought that as there was a lot of small goods people, we could have a small goods cup.”
Julius eventually went to see Tom D’Orsogna who made a good offer to the competition and the rest is history. “Tom told me if it worked he would increase the prize money every year, and he did,” said Julius.
The inaugural trophy was made by Middlewick, consisting of a chromed anti-aircraft shell as the centerpiece. The award is now resting proudly in the hands of the Perth Soccer Club display cabinet, after Azzurri won the trophy on three occasions (1960, 1965, 1969).
This however has become a mystery record because East Fremantle Tricolore had in fact first won it three times, in 1961, 1962 and 1966.
The second cup was a larger and more conventional trophy (which was in use until 1982) before Tom D’Orsogna felt the time was right to have a more modern award, since it was the most popular elimination competition in the State.
A competition open to the public was used to determine the design, which eventually was won by Terry Patrick, who devised a 51cm high sculpture of solid aluminium. It was manufactured by Westrail at their Midland workshops, while replica’s were also made for each of the winning teams (out of ceramic) by the wife of former Executive Board Member , and SFWA life member Fred Burfitt.
The competition ran from 1960 until 1995, and was contested 36 times. Perth SC, previously known as Azzurri and Perth Italia, won the trophy nine times, followed by Italian rivals Tricolore on eight. Spearwood Dalmatinac are next with five wins including the very last time the trophy was contested (1995), then Floreat Athena (3), North Perth, Windmills, Stirling Lions (prev West Perth/Stirling Macedonia) on two and single triumphs to Cracovia, Inglewood Kiev, Gosnells City and Kelmscott. Queens Park lifted the Cup in 1991 when it was only contested by Soccer Federation of WA clubs owing to the shop window sides playing in a new Super League. They themselves had a knockout tournament that year with Spearwood Dalmatinac defeating Perth Italia 1-0 for the PSL Cup.
Former champion coach Stuart Kamasz recalls vividly his time in the D’Orsogna Cup, starting from when he arrived in Perth in 1984 and was on the sideline watching Spearwood defeat Floreat with a Frank Vesich goal. Stuart then himself guided Dalamatinac to clinch a hat-trick of Cup triumphs by beating Perth Azzurri 3-1 at Bayswater Oval.
“The atmosphere the Cup created was a great finale to the end of a season,” said Stuart. “The D’Orsogna breakfasts too were a great way to kickstart the day.”
In 1990, he found himself in charge of Rockingham City from the Premier Division and went on to secure a grand final berth against powerhouse Perth Italia. “We were not given a chance of an upset,” Stuart recalls. “ SBS commentator Les Murray was at the game and said it was one of the best cup finals he had ever witnessed.”
After conceding an early goal, Rocky fought back to be 2-1 up at half-time. They battled to go 3-2 up again before a controversial penalty enabled Perth to scrape home 4-3.
“After the game, you would have thought we’d won. Our supporters were crazy, I had never experienced anything like it, and went back to the club to ‘celebrate’. Personally, I don’t think we have ever replaced that end of season cup final aura that the D’Orsogna Cup brought,” said Stuart. “It is sadly missed.”
WINNERS:
Azzurri, 1960, 1965, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1981, 1990*, 1993 – EF Tricolore, 1961, 1962, 1966, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1978, 1979 – North Perth, 1963, 1964 – Cracovia, 1967 – Windmills, 1974, 1975 – Inglewood Kiev, 1977 – WP Macedonia, 1980, ^1992 – Gosnells City – 1982 Spearwood Dalmatinac, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1994, 1995 – Kelmscott, 1986 – Floreat Athena, 1987, 1988, 1989 – Queens Park. 1991
* as Perth Italia ^as Stirling Macedonia

AS PART of the continuing celebration of the 60th anniversary of the introduction of semi-professional football in Western Australia in 1960, the State’s leading football historian RICHARD KREIDER looks back at the history of the one-time premier knockout competition, the D’Orsogna Cup.

ALTHOUGH a season of football evolves primarily around the pursuit of a league championship, you usually find an elimination competition or two also taking place to cap off the year. League matches can excite, particularly if it is a genuine derby clash, to settle a championship or stave off relegation, but it is the knockout challenge that animates and elates even the most impassive of football devotees.
The first truly successful knockout contest in Perth was the Charity Cup, which commenced in 1903 and continued right up until 1961. The trophy is a magnificent piece of silverware that stands 91.5cm tall and was donated by Scottish-born engineer William Leslie. He was initially with the Public Works Department and Fremantle Harbour Works before running a successful engineering merchant business (Leslie & Company).
Having held an interest in football in Glasgow, Leslie was no doubt keen to show his support for the game in Western Australia. He gave notice of his intention to donate a trophy in August 1902, in an attempt to prevent clubs from ending a season prematurely, especially when they were out of contention of a league title. In all, the Charity Cup (not once was it used for professional gains) was competed for in 44 seasons over a 58-year period, and also used during World War II as an incentive for what were extremely successful fund-raising games, between two Royal Navy submarine teams called Jolly Roger and the Canaries.
The trophy is now in the hands of the WA Museum, after it was bestowed by WA Soccer Football Association secretary Des Abraham. While it is tempting to condemn Abraham for making such a gesture, it was perhaps in hindsight the best thing he could have done, given how much historical memorabilia has since been lost over many years or destroyed.
The next successful trophy was the D’Orsogna Cup, which in essence signified the inauguration of Federation football, by offering a semi-professional alternative to amateur. Throughout its existence, the D’Orsogna Cup was perhaps the only area of stability in the local code, ever since the Federation took over football in 1960.
The competition wasted little time in becoming extremely popular with football fans. “Finding a sponsor was very hard because the papers would not name sponsors at the time,” said former Federation president Julius Re. “I thought that as there was a lot of small goods people, we could have a small goods cup.”
Julius eventually went to see Tom D’Orsogna who made a good offer to the competition and the rest is history. “Tom told me if it worked he would increase the prize money every year, and he did,” said Julius.
The inaugural trophy was made by Middlewick, consisting of a chromed anti-aircraft shell as the centerpiece. The award is now resting proudly in the hands of the Perth Soccer Club display cabinet, after Azzurri won the trophy on three occasions (1960, 1965, 1969).
This however has become a mystery record because East Fremantle Tricolore had in fact first won it three times, in 1961, 1962 and 1966.
The second cup was a larger and more conventional trophy (which was in use until 1982) before Tom D’Orsogna felt the time was right to have a more modern award, since it was the most popular elimination competition in the State.
A competition open to the public was used to determine the design, which eventually was won by Terry Patrick, who devised a 51cm high sculpture of solid aluminium. It was manufactured by Westrail at their Midland workshops, while replica’s were also made for each of the winning teams (out of ceramic) by the wife of former Executive Board Member , and SFWA life member Fred Burfitt.
The competition ran from 1960 until 1995, and was contested 36 times. Perth SC, previously known as Azzurri and Perth Italia, won the trophy nine times, followed by Italian rivals Tricolore on eight. Spearwood Dalmatinac are next with five wins including the very last time the trophy was contested (1995), then Floreat Athena (3), North Perth, Windmills, Stirling Lions (prev West Perth/Stirling Macedonia) on two and single triumphs to Cracovia, Inglewood Kiev, Gosnells City and Kelmscott. Queens Park lifted the Cup in 1991 when it was only contested by Soccer Federation of WA clubs owing to the shop window sides playing in a new Super League. They themselves had a knockout tournament that year with Spearwood Dalmatinac defeating Perth Italia 1-0 for the PSL Cup.
Former champion coach Stuart Kamasz recalls vividly his time in the D’Orsogna Cup, starting from when he arrived in Perth in 1984 and was on the sideline watching Spearwood defeat Floreat with a Frank Vesich goal. Stuart then himself guided Dalamatinac to clinch a hat-trick of Cup triumphs by beating Perth Azzurri 3-1 at Bayswater Oval.
“The atmosphere the Cup created was a great finale to the end of a season,” said Stuart. “The D’Orsogna breakfasts too were a great way to kickstart the day.”
In 1990, he found himself in charge of Rockingham City from the Premier Division and went on to secure a grand final berth against powerhouse Perth Italia. “We were not given a chance of an upset,” Stuart recalls. “ SBS commentator Les Murray was at the game and said it was one of the best cup finals he had ever witnessed.”
After conceding an early goal, Rocky fought back to be 2-1 up at half-time. They battled to go 3-2 up again before a controversial penalty enabled Perth to scrape home 4-3.
“After the game, you would have thought we’d won. Our supporters were crazy, I had never experienced anything like it, and went back to the club to ‘celebrate’. Personally, I don’t think we have ever replaced that end of season cup final aura that the D’Orsogna Cup brought,” said Stuart. “It is sadly missed.”
WINNERS:
Azzurri, 1960, 1965, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1981, 1990*, 1993 – EF Tricolore, 1961, 1962, 1966, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1978, 1979 – North Perth, 1963, 1964 – Cracovia, 1967 – Windmills, 1974, 1975 – Inglewood Kiev, 1977 – WP Macedonia, 1980, ^1992 – Gosnells City – 1982 Spearwood Dalmatinac, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1994, 1995 – Kelmscott, 1986 – Floreat Athena, 1987, 1988, 1989 – Queens Park. 1991
* as Perth Italia ^as Stirling Macedonia
PICTURED: Cups are the Charity Cup and three D’Orsogna Cups in order of use. Fred Burfitt displays the last design.

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