WHEN given the enormous task of compiling a Dream Team from over a century of contenders one name jumps out – John McInroy, the little Scotsman who re-wrote Western Australian football history with a string of stunning goalscoring feats in the 1960s.
He would undoubtedly be one of the leading candidates for many of the WA football public who have been asked to name their men’s senior Dream Team by Football West. The period covers 118 years from the State’s representative debut (against the touring England cricketers/footballers) in 1902 to the present day. A huge undertaking in anyone’s book. But hopefully the choices of the Committee of the Football Hall of Fame WA will provide a helping hand.
We have broken it down into three eras (1902 to 1960; 1961 to 1990; 1991 to 2020) and here we highlight likely candidates in the period from 1961 to 1990.
Dundee-born John McInroy, who came to Perth as a teenager, demonstrated he was a supreme marksman when he joined East Frematle Tricolore in the late 1950s – but he really came into his own in the 1960s with five golden years.
He was the State’s top scorer in 1961 (27 goals), 1962 (32), 1963 (48), 1964 (41) and 1965 (35). He had also topped the charts in 1958 and 1959 before going east in 1960 and joining a Victorian club for a year. He retired from the game in 1966, but made a comeback in 1969 when he again top scored with 20 goals for Tricolore. His haul of 48 goals in 1963 is still the highest by any player in the league in WA.
John was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame WA in 1996, and was one of the four inaugural members of the Hall of Legends when elevated in 2005.
Len Dundo is another iconic goalscorer, excelling at club level with the likes of Swan Athletic, Inglewood Kiev and Kingsway Olympic. He was the State League’s top scorer in 1972, 73 and 74 – and again in 1976, 77, 78 and 1980.
When Len was the leading marksman in 1972 he scored 34 goals (his personal highest), including four hat-tricks and a four-goal haul in one game.
The goalkeeping position is a hard call. Peter Mitchell, Tony Witschge, Owen Nuttridge, Chris Wissink and Saverio Madaschi were all outstanding custodians for WA over the 30-year period.
But Peter Mitchell gets the nod. Despite conceding seven goals against Manchester United in 1967 (the opposition included George Best, Bobby Charlton and Denis Law), the visitors hailed him the best keeper in Australia. He went on to fulfil that promise by appearing another 29 times for the State. He played with the great Cracovia side of the 1960s.
Steve Stacey, Hugh Miller, David Jones and Robbie Dunn make up a formidable defensive quartet.
Pictured at his home in Woodlands is Ernie Hannigan who has been inducted to the WA soccer Hall of Fame’s recognition. He is pictured with a letter of congratulations on his induction and a signed shirt (for his birthday) from Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who he has known since his days growing up in Glasgow. Picture : Ian Munro The West Australian 10/05/12
Former Bristol City and Ipswich defender Steve Stacey was 30 when he came to WA, but his skill, determination and vast experience was a huge bonus for Floreat Athena as he guided them to a championship, and later starred with Rockingham City. He played 15 times for the State and captained WA to success in the Marah Halim Cup in Indonesia in 1975.
Scottish-born Hugh Miller was one of the icons of the game in WA throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. His clubs included North Perth, Perth Azzurri, East Fremantle Tricolore and Spearwood Dalmatinac. He started as a centre forward, but gained his greatest glory as a centre-half. He won won four First Division championships, four D’Orsogna Cups, six Night Series cups and five Top Four Cups. His State career covered 33 matches, 12 of them as captain.
Fremantle-born David Jones started his career with Kwinana at 16 and also turned out with Tricolore and Azzurri. His talent was quickly spotted and he played in the NSL with West Adelaide, Adelaide City and Preston. He won five caps with Australia and also appeared 24 times for WA, including two triumphant Marah Halim Cup campaigns.
Scottish-born Robbie Dunn came to Perth aged eight, and a few years later was representing the State at junior level. He went on to carve out a magnificent career as a quality defender with Kwinana, Rockingham and North Perth Croatia before being snapped up by NSL side West Adelaide in 1982 and later playing for Preston and Melbourne Croatia. He played 36 times for the Socceroos, including the 1988 Olympic Games. He is in WA’s Hall of Legends.
In midfield the choice is overwhelming with many fine players to pick from in the 1961 to 1990 era, but perhaps none better than this quartet – Theo Paap, Gary Marocchi, John Davidson and Ernie Hannigan.
Dutch-born Theo Paap played with authority at the centre of defence or as a defensive midfielder for his club Windmills. He won the State’s Fairest and Best award a record five times and turned out 18 times for WA.
Local boy Gary Marocchi is one of WA’s most celebrated players, having shone in 12 seasons in the First Division (starting in 1971), all but one of them with Azzurri. He was with Adelaide City in the NSL for six years. He played 22 times for WA and 14 times for Australia, captaining the Socceroos for a friendly series against Greece. He is a member of the Hall of Legends.
John Davidson was born in Aberdeen and represented Scotland at youth level. He came to WA aged 17 and joined SMA Cottesloe, later re-named Ascot when they won the 1974 premiership. That same year he was picked for the Australian Under-23 team for a tour of Asia, playing in all seven games. His other clubs included Inglewood Kiev and Azzurri. Played 21 times for WA.
Ernie Hannigan, another Scot, was a fast, tricky winger who played in the UK with Preston and Coventry. After a stint in the US with New York Cosmos he came to WA in 1973 and joined Windmills, captaining them to trophy glory. He played 12 times for WA, including the 1975 success in the Marah Halim Cup.
Alan Vest is the obvious – and deserving – coach to lead this particular Dream Team. He was in charge of WA when they beat Glasgow Rangers (1975) and twice won the Marah Halim Cup (1975 and 1976).
(1961 to 1990)
Steve Stacey, Hugh Miller, David Jones, Robbie Dunn;
Theo Paap, Gary Marocchi (capt), John Davidson, Ernie Hannigan;
John McInroy, Len Dundo.
Subs: Tony Witschge, Peter Holt, John Van Oosten, Denis Barstow, Paul Sobek, David O’Callaghan, Arno Bertogna, Eric Edmonds. Coach: Alan Vest.
PIC ONE: John McInroy. PIC TWO: Len Dundo. PIC THREE: Hugh Miller. PIC FOUR: John Davidson. PIC FIVE: Theo Paap. PIC SIX: Ernie Hannigan. PIC SEVEN: The 1975 Marah Halim winning side, including Steve Stacey, David Jones, Gary Marocchi, Denis Barstow, David O’Callaghan, Alan Vest. PIC EIGHT: Peter Mitchell shows off his father’s WA badge for game against England in 1937. PIC NINE: Gary Marocchi and Robbie Dunn.
**FOR THE complete information on how to go about submitting a Dream Team, the WA football public should refer to the Football West website.
(see https://form.jotform.com/200910483441043 for details).