Swan Italia

The Cup that cheers – and surprises

SWAN Italian Club, regarded as one of the minnows of the WA State League since going from the amateur to professional ranks in 1986, can at least claim a slice of football history.
They became the last club to win the Boral Challenge Cup – at the time the State’s premier knockout competition – in 2004.
In fact, they also became the only club to win the event twice in succession, having also triumphed in 2003.
After the long-running D’Orsogna Cup folded in 1995, there were a series of short-lived knockout cups until the Boral Cup offered some sort of stability, running for seven years from 1998 until the sponsorship ended in 2004.
The winners were: 1998 Joondalup City; 1999 Inglewood Falcons; 2000 Western Knights; 2001 Perth SC; 2002 ECU Joondalup; 2003 Swan IC; 2004 Swan IC.

Swan’s victory in 2003 was against all the odds. They were facing red-hot favourites Perth SC on their home turf (Dorrien Gardens) and they played almost the entire second half with only 10 men after Damien Scali was sent off.
The underdogs (coached by former Perth Glory and Perth Italia coach Gary Marocchi) had surprisingly surged into a 2-0 lead by half-time with goals from Paul Lincoln and Elton Holmes. They needed the cushion after Scali was sent marching for a second yellow offence in 52 minutes and Perth’s Gareth Naven stepped up to narrow the gap with stunning volley in 71 minutes.
Perth pressed relentlessly for an equaliser, but Swan goalkeeper Cory Hugo defied them with a series of stunning saves that earned him the man of the match award.
Swan, made it back-to-back Boral Cup triumphs when they beat Fremantle City 2-1 in 2004. The goals came from David Foster and Miki Vujacic in the first half. Freo pulled one back through Jeff Bright after 58 minutes. The win capped a fine season for Foster, who won the State League’s Golden Boot award with 16 goals.
**TALENTED midfield-striker Dean Nicolaou, multiple trophy winner in his many years with Floreat Athena and a State team player, was a member of the Swan side that won the 2003 Boral Cup – and he also turned out for Western Knights when they lifted the trophy in 2000 (Pic two).
Dean was a key figure in the triumph, but it was another Nicolaou – John – who claimed the ultimate glory with both goals in the Knights 2-1 victory over Sorrento at Dorrien Gardens in October, 2000.
The 23-year-old had only joined the Knights that year and was originally signed as a midfielder, but later converted to a striker. The move provided handsome dividends for John Nicolaou, who also finished the season as the State League’s top scorer with 16 goals.
Another hero for the Knights in the 2000 final was veteran goalkeeper Darren Williams, who made a series of stunning saves after the interval as Sorrento tried to overcome a two-goal half-time deficit. Ryan Jeans managed to beat the keeper in 69 minutes. But, in a frantic final few minutes, Williams defied Todd Harnwell and then Jeans had two close-range efforts turned away by the keeper.

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