John Coyne and Gary Marocchi

WA quartet led the way in Aussie Hall of Fame

IT IS 21 years since the inaugural Australian Soccer Hall of Fame ceremony took place at the Sydney Wentworth Hotel – and four West Australian were among those honoured on the night.
WA playing greats Gary Marocchi and Ron Adair were singled out for their considerable contributions to the game “on the field”, while top administrators Julius Re and Harry Croft were honoured for their “off the field” efforts.
The establishment of a national Hall of Fame came three years after WA had become the first State body in Australia to set up a system to honour and identify the players, administrators, coaches, referees and others who had made the biggest contribution to the game in the West.
Unlike WA, which had initially decided on two categories – the Hall of Champions (for players) and the Hall of Recognition (for others) – the then national ruling body, Soccer Australia, opted for a system of awards on three distinct levels. Although, it was effectively six levels of awards, covering “on the field” and “off the field” honours in three separate categories, which were:
1 – Hall of Champions / Hall of Honour;
2 – Medal of Excellence / Roll of Honour (distinguished contribution);
3 – Award of Distinction / Roll of Honour (meritorious contribution).
In all, 84 people were given awards on Februay 28, 1999, following much research by an independent committee, which included former Olympian Ted Smith, journalist and historian Ted Simmons, respected journalist Fred Villiers, and Australian Women’s Soccer Association board member Maria Berry. The chairman was SA commissioner Don Di Fabrizio.
Apart from the committee’s own research, they were aided by recommendations from all State bodies, and the media, football historians and various other football people were also asked to submit suggestions.

No one from WA was included in the top awards, which included Hall of Champions honours to the likes of playing greats Joe Marston, Johnny Warren and John Kosmina, while recipients in the Hall of Honour category for administrators included former Socceroos coach Rale Rasic and ex-Soccer Australia chairman Sir Arthur George.
Former WA administrator Julius Re, the man mainly responsible for the introduction of semi-professional football in the West in 1960, was included in the second top category with an award for Distinguished Contribution in the Roll of Honour. Also recognised in this cateogry were former Australian international coaches Frank Arok, Les Scheinflug and Eric Worthington. So, Julius was in good company.
WA’s two former Australian captains, Gary Marocchi and Ron Adair, received the Award of Distinction. Both were initial inductees into WA’s Hall of Champions in 1996, and have since been elevated to the Hall of Legends.
Harry Croft, who had been president of the WA Junior Association for 20 years and was influential in the junior set-up taking giant leaps in his time in office, was recognised by Soccer Australia in the Roll of Honour category for Meritorious Contribution.
Since then a further seven Western Australians have been inducted into what is now the Football Federation Australia Hall of Fame. ( All incidentally are also included in the Football Hall of Fame WA). They are:
Robbie Dunn (2001), Bob McShane (2001), Robbie Zabica (2006), Eddie Lennie (2007), Tracey Wheeler (2008), Stan Lazaridis (2010) and Sandra Brentnall (2014).

PIC ONE: Gary Marocchi (right) in his playing days with Adelaide City. PIC TWO: Ron Adair. PIC THREE: Julius Re. PIC FOUR: Harry Croft.

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