North Geelong Warriors


North Geelong Warriors
North Geelong Warriors FC
North Geelong emblem
Full name North Geelong Warriors
Football Club
Nickname(s) Warriors, Geelong Croatia
Founded 1967
Ground Croatian Sports Centre, Elcho Park
(Capacity: 4,000)
Chairman Dane Desa
Coach Ante Skoko
League Victorian State League Division 1
Home colours
Away colours

The North Geelong Warriors Football Club, (previously known as North Geelong Croatia), is a Croatian backed football (soccer) club from the regional Victorian city of Geelong. The club continues to have strong links to and support from the city’s large Croatian community. The club is a regular participant in the Australian-Croatian Soccer Tournament, which it has hosted 4 times. North Geelong also competes in the annual Geelong Community Shield Cup (previously known as the Geelong Advertiser Cup) which the club has dominated throughout the years and has won a total of 17 Cup titles (the most titles won by a club).

North Geelong holds the record in the Geelong Community Shield Cup with 7 consecutive wins from 1991 - 1997. North Geelong's biggest victory in a final was in 1996 at Stead Park with a record breaking 8-1 thrashing of rivals Geelong. The Geelong Cup is in its 31st year with North Geelong winning half of the Cup's titles.

Contents

History

North Geelong Croatia was formed in 1967 by newly arrived Croatian migrants namely Joe Radojevic, Vinko Radojevic, Aldo Siketa, Ivan Sesar and Mirko Hrkac. The club slowly moved its way up the Victorian leagues. By 1972 the club was competing in the Victorian Provisional League. But that year would prove to be a dark year for the club. North Geelong was expelled from the Victorian Provisional League after an altercation in a match with Werribee. North Geelong was accepted back into the Geelong competition in 1973, but did not re-enter the Victorian Provisional League until 1979.

By 1984 the club had risen up to Division 2 where they remained until they won the Division 2 title in 1989, getting promoted to Division 1. 1990 saw Melbourne Croatia legend Brank Culina take over as coach, he would lead the side for 3 seasons. He would go on to have an incredible impact on the club in what would be its most successful period. In 1991 they won the Division 1 title, finishng a point ahead of Knox City. So in 1992 the club entered the Victorian Premier league for the very first time. In its inaugural season the club surprised everyone finishing first and collecting the Minor Premiership. The club went on to make the Grand Final. They faced former National Soccer League champions Brunswick Juventus at Middle Park. North Geelong’s George Karkaletsis opened the scoring on the 22nd minute. Brunswick equalized 4 minutes later. The match remained 1-1 at full time, taking it into extra time. North Geelong ripped Brunswick apart scoring 3 unanswered goals from Adrian Cervinski, Robert Markovac and Robert Cosic. It was an unprecedented event, the only time a newly promoted side had won the title in their first season. Players in this championship side included Steve Horvat, Adrian Cervinski and David Cervinski. All three players would become successful players in the National Soccer League. All three were a part of the Melbourne Knights National Soccer League championship side of the mid 90s.

North Geelong Warriors celebrating a win at Elcho Park.

1993 was another successful season. The club finished third in the regular season, making the finals for a second year in a row. But this time their finals campaign did not prove to rewarding as in the previous season. The club lost both its finals matches, including a heartbreaking loss in extra time to Sunshine George Cross.

The next three seasons saw the club miss out on finals action, finishing mid table. But some joy came with the club producing another star player in Josip Skoko. 1997 proved to be a disastrous season for the club, finishing 2nd last and being relegated to Division 1. In 1999 the club was relegated to Division 2. It had been a quick fall from the top. The club remained in Division 2 for the next 6 seasons, with poor results. All that changed by 2005, club legends Adrian Cervinski and David Cervinski had returned to the club. The club won the championship in 2005, losing only 4 matches and being promoted to Division 1.

The club went into the 2006 Division 1 season with high hopes, they were undefeated in their first 7 games. But slowly they fell away, eventually finishing a respectable 4th and missing out on promotion to the Victorian Premier League. With a number of players leaving the squad at the start of the 2007 season, North Geelong struggled throughout the season and were subject to relegation. However with a new batch of players and new coach Vinko Buljubasic the club came 4th at the end of the 2008 season. In 2009 the club was promoted back into the State League Division 1 after clinching the Division 2 title. After an inconsistent 2010 season, the club finished in 8th spot, well clear of relegation, but also lower than expectations. In the summer of 2011, Vinko Buljubasic was relieved of his duties as manager and replaced by Ante Skoko with his brother, a recently retired professional footballer, Josip Skoko as his assistant.

Honours

  • Victorian Premier League Champions 1992
  • Victorian Premier League Minor Premiers 1992
  • Victorian Premier League Finalists (Playoffs) 1992, 1993
  • Victorian State League Division 1 Champions 1991
  • Victorian State League Division 2 Champions 1989, 2005, 2009
  • Victorian Provisional League Division 2 Champions 1981
  • Victorian Provisional League Division 3 Champions 1980
  • Geelong Advertiser Cup/Community Shield Champions 1985, 1986, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011
  • Geelong Advertiser Cup/Community Shield Runner-Up 1988, 1990, 1998, 2000, 2002

Individual Honours

Victorian Premier League Gold Medal - VPL Player of the Year

  • 1992 - Bogdan Bonk
  • 1994 - Josip Skoko

Bill Fleming Medal - Media voted VPL Player of the Year

  • 1993 - David Cervinski

Victorian Premier league Coach of the Year

  • 1992 - Branko Culina

Victorian Premier League Under 21 Player of the Year

  • 1994 - Josip Skoko

Victorian Premier League Jim Rooney Medal - Grand Final Man of the Match

  • 1992 - David Cervinski

Weinstein Medal Junior Player of the Year

  • 1992 - Josip Skoko
  • 2005 - Matthew Spiranovic

Divisional History

  • Victorian State League 1 2010 – present
  • Victorian State League 2 N/W 2008-2009
  • Victorian State League 1 2006-2007
  • Victorian State League 2 N/W 2000-2005
  • Victorian State League 1 1998-1999
  • Victorian Premier League 1992-1997
  • Victorian State League 1 1990-1991
  • Victorian State League 2 1984-1989
  • Metropolitan League Division 4 1982-1983
  • Victorian Provisional League 2 1981
  • Victorian Provisional League 3 1979-1980

International Representatives

Australia

Socceroos

Australia U-23

Australia U-20

Australia U-17

Croatia

Croatia national football team

Notable former players

See also

Australian football (soccer) league system
Geelong Regional Football Association
List of Croatian football clubs in Australia

External links

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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