1979 Western Australia Amateur State team

When our amateurs ruled Australia

FORTY years ago (1979) Western Australia celebrated its 150th Year Anniversary – and befitting the occasion was the State Amateur team winning the National Amateur Championships at Wotton Reserve, the home of Morley Windmills.
The tournament had only commenced the year before in South Australia at Hindmarsh Stadium, where WA failed to win a game.
But what a turnaround the following year when they beat Victoria 3-1 and New South Wales 1-0, culminating in a 3-1 triumph over cup holders South Australia.
John O’Donnell got WA off to a flying start with a brace of goals against Victoria, while Steve Abram also scored.
It was a tighter contest against NSW, but O’Donnell again supplied the goods with the lone goal.
And the Kwinana United striker was again the hero in the deciding title match against South Australia. He got two goals in the 3-1 victory, while Abram also weighed in with a goal.

Ted Gray

There was no surprise when O’Donnell and Abrams were chosen for a National Amateur squad select at the end of the tournament, while other WA players Charlie McWattie, Chris Peters and Roy Stubbs were also picked for national recognition.
The triumphant WA squad was: Bob Nicholson, John Billingness (North Perth), Jim Potsig, Richard Clarke (Morley Windmills), Eddie Bradley, Derek Eglington (Windsor Athletic), Steve Abram, Danny Davidson, John O’Donnell, Charlie McWattie, Chris Peters (captain) (Kwinana United), Roy Stubbs (Rochester), Richard Gaitor, John Watling, Alf Aries (Espanol), Alex Fenton (Rockingham United).
The entire squad was feted at Parliament House a few days later when their achievement was officially recognised by the WA State Government.
Ted Bude (a noted referee and the first WA whistler to gain a FIFA Badge) was the State amateur coach, while John Van Hoek was the trainer. Major Roy Wilkinson was the team manager.
Unfortunately, a  few months later, the Amateur Soccer Association WA secretary, Major Wilkinson, passed away while holidaying in England, after suffering a heart attack watching a football match.
The first occasion a representative team was chosen from the amateur ranks was in 1972, four years after organised amateur football had commenced. Their opponents were a select from the South West Soccer Association, with the city side winning 5-2 in Perth.
That same year John Venn vacated the presidency of the amateur body to take up a similar post on the Soccer Federation of WA. His place as amateur president was taken by Ted Gray.
English-born Ted, who arrived in WA in 1968, helped form Gosnells Soccer Club in 1969 and filled the roles of coach and secretary at the club. He became secretary of the amateur body around the same time before succeeding Venn as president.
Ted later went on to be a very popular full-time Executive Director of the Soccer Federation of WA, a role he filled from 1974 until 1988. He was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame WA in 2002. Ted died in 2014 at the age of 90.

PIC ONE: WA’s champion amateurs (coach Ted Bude centre back) in 1979. PIC TWO: Ted Gray shakes hands with State team players in 1972.

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