THE last two years of the D’Orsogna Cup (1994, 1995) provided two thrilling finals – and stunning triumphs for Spearwood Dalmatinac as they grabbed the accolade of the third most successful team in WA’s premier knockout competition with five victories in a remarkable 13-year period.
Dalies (who also won three successive D’Orsogna Cups, 1983, 84, 85) beat Stirling Macedonia in the 1994 final, and overcame Inglewood Falcons in 1995, the last year the trophy was up for grabs.
Dalmatinac no longer exists in name as a professional team, having merged with Cockburn United in 1998 to form Cockburn City. And, ironically, the two other most successful clubs in the D’Orsogna Cup have also been consigned to history as senior outfits. Perth Azzurri, record nine-time winners of the competition, were part of the merger that formed Perth Italia (now Perth SC) in 1987. East Fremantle Tricolore, eight-time Cup victors, were also involved in the merger of the clubs with Italian backgrounds in 1987.
PIC ONE: Jimmy Miller, in his first season as coach of Dalmatinac, celebrates in style as his team comes from behind to beat red-hot favourites Stirling Macedonia 3-2 in the D’Orsogna Cup final on October 9, 1994. Maceys appeared poised to become the first team in WA history to win all four major trophies (having already snared the night series, league title and Top Four Cup) when Steve Bourne put them in front after 31 minutes. But veteran striker Keven Elliott came off the subs bench in the second half to grab an astonishing hat-trick in the 68th, 81st and 90th minutes. Gary Murray got Maceys second goal with an injury-time penalty.
PIC TWO: Dalmatinac’s 1994 Cup hero Keven Elliott poses with his 10-year-old son Liam the day after his stunning hat-trick achievement. Keven, at 36 well and truly at the Evergreen stage of his sporting life, said that he had dreamt the night before that Dalies would triumph. “But I didn’t dream I would come on as a sub and get a hat-trick,” he said. Keven wasn’t included in the starting line-up as he had struggled with an injury that had prevented him from training properly for 17 weeks.
PIC THREE: Aaron Nadin, Dean Wallace and Michael Mirco proudly show off what was to be the last D’Orsogna Cup after Spearwood Dalmatinac had beaten Inglewood Falcons 3-2 in the 1995 final at Macedonia Park on October 15. Dalies had taken the lead after 22 minutes when Falcons player Paul Strudwick stabbed the ball into his own net. Jason Ainsley got the equaliser in 31 minutes and then provided a great pass for Alan McTurk to give Inglewood a 2-1 lead in 57 minutes. But Dalies amazing veteran Keven Elliott sent the game into extra time with a 30 metre free kick in 88 minutes. Then 18-year-old Simon Henderson, who came on as a sub in extra time, headed home the winner. After 35 years, it was the final contribution of the D’Orsogna Cup, with the sponsors announcing their withdrawal of support of the competition.