THE FOOTBALL Hall of Fame’s third State Dream Team selection spans 1991-2019, a period of varying activity for Western Australia’s senior men’s team.
It began with a hive of activity – 25 games in just five years with three appearances at major tournaments in Asia plus historic defeats of European clubs Werder Bremen, West Ham United and Nottingham Forest.
Unfortunately, as Perth Glory stepped onto the national league stage the limelight has increasingly drifted away from the State team. But while senior representative games have become something of a scarce commodity, the quality of the football and its players continues to thrill and inspire local devotees of the world game.
In response to Football West’s plea (in partnership with its State team sponsor Gold Fields) for the WA football public to pick their Ultimate State Dream Team from over a century of competition, here’s some food for thought:
THE STARTING XI
Zabica is one of Australia’s all-time great goalkeepers with 42 Socceroo appearances to his name. He started out with Spearwood Dalmatinac and Stirling Macedonia but it was during a seven-season stay with Adelaide City that his career took off, winning two NSL titles and the 1992 Goalkeeper of the Year. Stints with Perth Glory and English side Bradford City took his professional game tally to 205. Zabica represented the State on six occasions and collected four State League Goalkeeper of the Year awards.
Miller is best remembered for his nine-seasons operating down the left flank with Perth Glory. Time with Spearwood Dalmatinac and Perth Italia preceded a move into the Singapore League where he turned out for Sembawang and Perth Kangaroos. A return to Australia took him to Morwell Falcons and then Glory, with whom he won two NSL titles and made the last of his 274 NSL appearances. Miller earned two Socceroo caps and turned out for the State 11 times.
Sydney-born Murphy was classy a central defender who made 377 professional appearances in England and Australia. He initially made his name with Perth Italia before embarking on an 11-year professional career in England where he played for Notts County, West Bromwich Albion, Crystal Palace and Sheffield United. On returning to Australia he captained Perth Glory to the NSL title in 2003/04. Along the way Murphy gained 20 Socceroo caps, represented Australia at the 1992 Olympic Games and made eight outings for the State.
The 28-year old Sainsbury is tracking to become WA’s most capped Socceroo, having already racked up 48 outings in the green and gold. A State junior representative, he helped Central Coast Mariners win the 2013 A-League crown. That followed two seasons at each PEC Zwolle (Netherlands) and Jiangsu Suning (China), with loans from the latter to Inter Milan (Italy) and Grasshoppers (Switzerland). The stylish centre back joined Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven in 2018 and last year moved to Israeli club Maccabi Haifa, where he’s taken his professional game tally to 159.
Naven was a tough-as-nails defender who shot to prominence following selection in Australia’s 1985 Under-16 World Championship squad. His senior career began alongside twin brother Gareth at Bayswater Inter before blossoming at Perth Italia, helping that club to five successive State League titles. In 1994 he briefly captained Perth Kangaroos in the S-League and played 27 times across Perth Glory’s first two NSL campaigns. Naven, who saw out his playing days at Bassendean Caledonian, made 17 State team appearances.
A versatile left-sided player, Lazaridis is currently WA’s most capped player with 72 outings for Australia. He shone locally with Kingsway Olympic, Stirling Macedonia and Floreat Athena before entering the NSL in 1992 at West Adelaide. Three years later he moved to England for 12 seasons at West Ham United and Birmingham City. His 390-game professional career ended at Perth Glory in 2008. Lazaridis, part of four Socceroos’ World Cup campaigns, represented the State on 10 occasions.
It was clear from early on that Naven was destined for big things in football. A strong-tackling midfielder, he represented Australia at the Under-16 World Championship before making his senior debut at Perth Italia, where he won four league titles plus the Gold Medal in 1992. Seasons with Adelaide City, Perth Kangaroos and Sarawak (Malaysia) followed. The natural choice to lead Perth Glory, he captained the club throughout their first six campaigns for a total of 154 NSL appearances. He represented the State 20 times.
Naglieri is one of the most technically gifted players to come from WA. Possessing great touch and superb distribution, he broke out with Cockburn City by winning the league’s Rookie of the Year and starring for the State Under-19 team in France. After a spell with Perth Glory the midfielder joined Perth SC where, across eight seasons he reaped four league titles – a fifth came at South Melbourne – and in 2008 he was awarded the Gold Medal. Naglieri pulled on the State shirt five times.
Born in Scotland, Sutton set the tone for a remarkable State League career by winning the 1982 Gold Medal on debut with Inglewood Kiev. A dynamic, goal-scoring midfielder, he played in his homeland and Hong Kong prior to arriving on the local stage. He helped Inglewood, Floreat Athena and Stirling Macedonia to a combined total of 18 major trophies, six of those being league titles. Sutton, who scored a second Gold Medal in 1996, was selected for the State team 11 times.
Yugoslavia-raised Despotovski wore Perth Glory colours with great distinction across 10 seasons. He established himself as a goalscorer of the highest calibre at Floreat Athena before stepping into the NSL with Heidelberg United and Morwell Falcons. A member of Glory’s inaugural squad, he won two national league titles and in 2006 was named the competitions’ Player of the Year. Despotovski amassed 123 national league goals in 264 appearances, returned five goals in four games for Australia and bagged eight in eight for the State.
GUSTAVO GIRON MARULANDA
In another era, Giron Marulanda would have been a national league star. This Colombia-born finisher has posed a clear and present danger for opposing defences since linking with Bayswater City in 2009. Across 11 seasons he has topped the league’s goalscoring charts on four occasions in guiding his club to five league titles. Giron Marulanda, who also played briefly with Indonesian side Persegres Gresik United at the end of 2015, has pulled on the State shirt four times.
THE COACH – ERIC WILLIAMS
Williams, an England Under-18 amateur international, boasts an impressive record with the State team. In charge of the Black Swans for four years from 1994, he guided the side to nine wins – including historic triumphs over English clubs West Ham United and Nottingham Forest – three draws and just six losses. At club level he worked with North Perth Croatia, Spearwood Dalmatinac, Floreat Athena, Stirling Lions and Swan IC before spending a decade coaching in Indonesia, Burma, Myanmar and Malaysia.
Michael enjoyed a distinguished career that saw him named Australia’s Goalkeeper of the Year on three occasions. He first turned out for Spearwood Dalmatinac and joined Perth Kangaroos before being snapped up by South Melbourne, where he won two NSL titles. He enjoyed eight seasons with Turkish sides Trabzonspor and Sivasspor before ending his career with seasons at Melbourne Victory and Cockburn City. Petkovic made 408 professional appearances, gained seven Socceroo caps and represented the State six times.
Wales-born and raised in Bunbury, Armstrong shot to prominence on the Australian Schoolboys tour of England and Scotland in 1986. A towering defender, he returned home to join Stirling Macedonia, winning three league titles and finishing in the top four in all 10 seasons he was with the club. One of the first players to be offered a contract by Perth Glory, which he declined for work reasons, he won another title at Floreat Athena and also played for ECU Joondalup and Kingsway Olympic. Armstrong represented the State four times.
As a teenager, Scotland-born Cummings spent several years at the Australian Institute of Sport and represented Australia at the World Youth Championship in 1987. In a lengthy senior career he wore Bayswater United, Stirling Macedonia, Spearwood Dalmatinac, Western Knights, Inglewood United and Fremantle City colours. He also made 33 NSL appearances for Brisbane Lions and Morwell Falcons, and was a member of the all-conquering Perth Kangaroos of 1994. Cummings wore State colours 21 times.
England-born McVittie was a hard-working midfielder who arrived in Perth with European Cup experience. He played initially with Kelmscott Roos before captaining Stirling Macedonia to league titles in 1994 and 1995. A short stint with Perth Kangaroos was followed by stays at Canberra Cosmos and Perth Glory for a total of 43 NSL appearances. He won further league titles at Western Knights and Fremantle City before retiring at the age of 38. McVittie made 21 State appearances, captaining the team at the 1995 Marah Halim Cup.
Gaspar carved out a distinguished professional career in Asia. An apprentice with Croatian side Hajduk Split, he represented Australia Schoolboys and shone locally for Perth SC. In 2002 he joined QAF (Brunei) then Sabah (Malaysia) before moving to Indonesia where he turned out for Persita Tangerang, Persita Balikpapan, Persema Malang and Persib Bandung, for a combined total of in excess of 150 national league appearances. Gaspar, who ended his days with Inglewood United and Floreat Athena, made three outings with the State.
Englishman Bourne was a powerfully-built midfielder with a keen eye for goal. His on-the-ball talents were quickly recognised at Rockingham City and prompted his inclusion in the Perth Kangaroos squad that won the S-League undefeated in 1994, when he was the teams’ third highest goalscorer. Further league titles came his way at Stirling Macedonia (1995) and Fremantle City (2000). Bourne played 10 games for the State.
Christie is one of the finest wingers to grace the local stage. Following a 300-plus game career in Scotland, he opened a new football chapter by moving down under at the age of 30. He drove Perth Italia to Grand Final victory in 1989 and 1990, scored in Stirling Macedonia’s 1991 and 1992 Cup successes and inspired Spearwood Dalmatinac to the same in 1994 and 1995. Christie, who ended his playing days with Western Knights, represented the State twice.
Born in England, Strudwick was a quick and skilful attacker with a penetrating long throw. He made an early mark with Bassendean Caledonian and played for Perth Italia and Inglewood Kiev. He spearheaded Perth Kangaroos to the S-League title with 16 goals – the most in the 1994 competition – and two years later made the first of his 68 NSL appearances for Perth Glory. After a spell with Floreat Athena he retired back at Bassendean. Strudwick played for the State six times.
PIC ONE: Trent Sainsbury in action for Australia at the 2018 World Cup. PIC TWO: Shaun Murphy. PIC THREE: Antonio Naglieri. PIC FOUR: Gustavo Giron Marulanda. PIC FIVE: WA’s 1995 State team, including Alex Cummings, Bobby Despotovski, coach Eric Williams, Gareth Naven, Scott Miller, Norrie Sutton, Michael Petkovic, Robbie Zabica, Stan Lazaridis, Paul McVittie. PIC SIX: Craig Naven, Norrie Sutton, Paul Strudwick.
To submit your nominations for the Gold Fields WA State Dream Teams visit https://footballwest.com.au/pick-your-ultimate-wa-state-dream-teams/