On Saturday 6 October, I had the pleasure of attending the Football Federation of South Australia’s inaugural celebration of football at the Entertainment Centre, representing the Liberal Party. It was fantastic to see the Football Federation of South Australia introducing a night of nights, and I believe it is a testament to how much this code of football has grown in the past decade, particularly since the introduction of the A-League and Australia’s move to the Asian Football Confederation.
Also present were members for Light and Lee as well as federal members for Makin and Hindmarsh. Other distinguished guests included Mr Nick Bianco, Mr Greg Griffin, the Chairman of Adelaide United Football Club, and Mr Val Migliaccio, chief soccer writer at The Advertiser. I want to acknowledge the work of the Football Federation of South Australia in getting this together and, in particular, Mr Michael Carter, who is doing an outstanding job as the federation’s CEO I also congratulate the very skilled board, led by its Chairman, His Honour Judge Rauf Soulio.
Those recognised on the night included the players of the year for each of the three senior men’s divisions: the Sergio Melta Medal, awarded to the Super League player of the year, which was shared by Alemayo Kebede from the Croydon Kings and Mr Nicholas Orr of the Adelaide Raiders; the Bob Telfer Medal, awarded to the Premier League player of the year, was shared by three players—Mr James Skeffington from the Pirates, Michael Keens from White City Woodville, and Matthew Marchiono of the Para Hills Soccer Club; the Milan Ivanovic Medal for the State League player of the year was won individually by Charlie Bowman from the Adelaide Hills Hawks; and the women’s player of the year was Rachel Quigley from Adelaide United, who I understand is also playing with Adelaide United in the National W-League, by all accounts, an outstanding talent.
Coaches of the year were Mark Brazzale in the Super League from Croydon; Simon Catanzaro from Para Hills in the Premier League; Doug Paterson from Adelaide Hills in the State League; and Bob Bush from Fulham United in the Women’s League. The Golden Boot Awards went to Michael Matricciani of MetroStars, Kym Harris of the Adelaide Blue Eagles, and Rachel Quigley of Adelaide United. The most aptly named John Aloisi Rising Star Award was won by Nick Munro of Croydon, while the Female Rising Star was Emma Checker of Cumberland United. The Referee of the Year was Mr Stephen Toth. It is always good to see officials being recognised, as without them matches would not be possible.
A number of former champions were inducted into the Hall of Fame, namely, Mr Richie Alagich, who was involved in top-flight football in Australia for 15 years playing for West Adelaide, South Melbourne and Brisbane in the NSL and Adelaide United in the A-League; Sharon Black, who is an Adelaide United W-League player and who has 61 international caps for Australia; and, dear to my heart, Mr Carl Veart, who, of course, had quite a decorated career playing for Adelaide City in the National Soccer League, Sheffield United, Crystal Palace in the English Division One and Millwall in Division Two, as well as Adelaide United in the A-League following his return to Australia. He also earned 18 caps for Australia, and he is now back coaching at Adelaide United. My selfish interest in Mr Veart is that he is a great product of Whyalla, and he joins other greats such as Barrie Robran, who is a much-loved footballer in the South Australian National Football League. I congratulate the Football Federation on an outstanding evening, in particular, the format in which the federation conducted that evening.
Last Saturday night, I was extremely privileged to represent the Liberal Party at the 60-year celebration of the Adelaide Croatia Soccer Club, which is based at Gepps Cross, in its magnificent facility. I sincerely thank Mr Alan Vrbanac, who is the President of the Adelaide Croatian Soccer Club, and Mr Peter Cindric, who is the President of the Croatian Sports Centre, for what was again an outstanding evening, with Croatian hospitality in full display.
I would like to take particular note of the outstanding volunteers at the Adelaide Croatia Soccer Club and Sports Centre. What I did notice was the incredible array of young people who had rolled up their sleeves and were volunteering to ensure that the club survives extremely well. In fact, they put on an outstanding evening. A proud club, a proud group of people, and I was thrilled to be able to attend the event.