- Tell us a little bit about yourself, background, where you grew up etc?
Grew up in the Hills area of North Rocks in a rural setting and played A grade tennis until the age of 15. A gentleman by the name of Jack Martin knocked on our door and asked if I would play “soccer” for a new club starting in the area.
Having never even seen a game of football, I was intrigued to find out more about this new game, at least to me. I found an old pair of rugby boots in the shed with wooden studs, and with no training turned up for my first ever introduction to this round ball game.
I played right half and had no idea what I was doing. Eventually, I found my way into the Goals because I was tall and had reasonable coordination.
- What are your first recollections of playing football?
First game lost 17-0 the second lost 13-1 and so it went on.
After 2 years, the same gentleman who got me into this game ask if I would help out a team at Western Suburbs who lost their GK for a couple of games. I did and ended up staying and playing U/18 the next year.
For the next year, our team trained at Concord oval 2 nights a week from 6pm to 8pm. To get to training I had to ride my bike 5k’s to North Parramatta, catch a bus to Parramatta station, a train to Burwood, then walk to Concord oval. We would train for 2 hours then do the return journey and arrive home at around 10.30pm.
I left Western Suburbs after 2 years after being told I had no future in football.
- What was your next move in football terms?
Hornsby North end was my next club before Granville Magpies coach Dennis Adrigan asked me to join him in the NSW 2nd division. I was unaware that Dennis was a Hungarian GK in his youth and the first coach to introduce specific GK training to this country in the mid-1960s.
At my first ever Goalkeeper training session, Dennis said to me if I follow his program, I will play in the national team within 5 years.
- What level of professional football did you manage to achieve and when did you finish?
1975-1981: Australia (22 matches)
Marconi: NSL championship 1979, NSL Cup 1980.
- What was it like playing in your era, and what did football training involve in those days?
Training sessions were something else. You couldn’t really take your foot off the pedal because training was always full-on. Every session was a challenge and a contest.
You soon got into the swing of things knowing fully well that if you did not put in 110 per cent, the players would let you know in no uncertain terms. And you did not want to let anybody down, not least yourself.
- Who are some of the standout goalkeepers from your era?
The best goalkeepers I remember are two of my best friends: Ron Corry and Fraser. They were the incumbent Australia goalkeepers when I started taking an interest in football and I’m so glad they are still involved in the game.
- You’ve played football with many great players over the years. Can you tell us some of their names and what set them apart from the others?
Eddie Krncevic, Peter Sharne and Marc Jankovics,
I don’t think we have ever seen a front three like them. They were all lightning fast and good finishers. Krncevic and Jankovics were always competing against each other for the top-scorer award and feeding off Sharne, who would be called an ‘assist king’ today. The three attackers were very difficult to control.
- How has the goalkeeper’s role changed to what it needs to be today?
You need to be strong with both feet and play the ball out, but I think a lot of people place too much emphasis on that aspect of the role. You should never get away from the essential skills needed to be a good goalkeeper. But it is something that is being worked on a lot these days.
- What are the biggest achievements and regrets you have from your time in football?
Playing for my country in 3 world cup campaigns and international matches. Winning the national title with Marconi in 1979 and induction into the FA Hall of fame in 2007.
The biggest disappointment, missing out on the Rothmans medal in 1974 on a countback as I had to miss 7 league games as part of the world cup squad and being tied with another player who won it on countback. I would have got at least one point in 7 matches and been the first goalkeeper to win the award.