2002 – A year to remember for Jacks

2002 – A year to remember for Jacks

Posted on July 21, 2017 in 'News'

After winning the Premier League title in 1999, ECU Joondalup were one of the best teams in the State league, this after seven years in existence and in 2002 it was a year to remember for the Jacks

Under the guidance of Coach Paul ‘Geordie’ Simmons the club blossomed and in 2002 the club produced one of their best season’s winning two major cup trophies. It all started in the pre-season competition – The BGC Lightning Cup – It was the inaugural BGC, and they beat Western Knights 2-0 at the Inglewood Stadium, with a certain Dale McCulloch on the scoresheet. (Photo by Brett Klucznik)

Going into the match as favourites, the Knights started brightly with Stuart Montgomery stretching goalkeeper Peter Stewart inside the first minute. In a pacey opening period the ball relayed with accuracy from one end of the park to the other as both teams searched for the early breakthrough. The deadlock was broken after 15 minutes when McCulloch’s scorching volley found the back of the net following a free-kick from wide on the left.

Joondalup enjoyed a lengthy period in control after the opener and in the 23rd minute Knights custodian Pedro Pavez produced a stunning save to deny Paddy Rooney and keep his side the hunt. But four minutes later there was little the ‘keeper could to keep out a well-rehearsed set-piece – a near-post corner by Scott Bulloch was flicked on by Andy Brown and Jamie Kuzmanovich finished the move to make it 2-0. With half-time fast approaching, Knights captain Scott Devine came close to pegging a goal back, his powerful drive on the run flashing just the wrong side of the up-right.

Knowing the Knights had to come out attacking, Joondalup were content to sit back soak up the early pressure after the interval. Ronnie Campbell’s side continually got the ball to the feet of their forwards but their best efforts were rule off-side courtesy of a well-sprung Joondalup off-side trap. The only chance of the first quarter-hour came following a Ray Marinovic corner that wasn’t properly dealt with by the opposing defence and young Ivan Zuvela cracked a fine volley high.

Joondalup picked up the pace shortly after and Garin Collins almost extended the margin with a superb shot on the turn which came back into play off the post with Tomich firmly rooted to the spot. Ben Yates showed great skill to bring down a high ball and turn his marker in one fluent movement after 52 minutes, his shot from 17-metres landing squarely on Tomich’s chest. The Knights mount a last-ditch assault on their opponent’s goal over the closing stages, but when Eugene Singeorzan’s speculative shot was comfortably saved by Stewart even the most optimistic of Knights supporters recognised the trophy was now beyond their reach. After a nervous few minutes Michael Klaver’s final whistle sent ‘Geordie’ Simmons and the Joondalup bench into raptures at having captured the first silverware of the new-year.

The same year the club took out the State League Cup Final, known then as the ‘Boral Cup’, beating Future Glory 2-1 at Dorrien Gardens. It was wintry conditions, and the late withdrawal of John Higgins, who was called into camp with the Australian Under-17 team, forced Joondalup coach Paul Simmons into re-shuffling his line-up which benefitted teenager Scott Blackmore who was promoted to the starting line-up. Simmons’ opposing number Frank Arok called up Perth Glory players Michael Garcia and Antonio Naglieri for the clash along with Shaun Kilkelly who has only recently agreed terms on a one-year contract with the National Soccer League club.

Getting underway with a strong wind blowing across that pitch, not to mention intermittent rain, Future dominated the opening exchanges but could find few holes in the opposing backline. But on the one occasion they did open up the Joondalup defence Future should have taken the lead as Robert Cibesku’s cross into the 6-yard box was pulled wide by the unmarked Naglieri. Joondalup eventually settled and began to take control of proceedings. In the 12th minute Garin Collins was permitted to advance on goal before goalkeeper Michael Basilio smothered at his feet, Andy Mason pounced on the loose ball but his shot was stopped on the goal line by James Hesketh. Four minutes later Collins darted from the middle of the park but this time shot disappointingly wide from 15-metres. Andy Brown was presented with a golden opportunity to open the scoring after Basilio spilled a 23rd minute corner, but he too was denied by some alert defending, this time by Naglieri.

The pendulum had by this stage swung well and truly in Joondalup’s favour as they peppered the goal with shots. In quick succession Basilio kept out goal-bound shots from Mason and Collins, and in the 28th minute the Future custodian had to be at his sharpest to block Kevin Griffiths shot from 8-metres after he was teed-up by Blackmore. With much of the play taking place in their defensive half, Future managed a quick counter-attack which ended with Miki Vujacic’s curling shot sailing in the arms of Peter Stewart. The northern suburbs side finished the half strongly as Dale McCulloch’s rasping drive flew just wide of the top corner after 38 minutes. Shortly after Scott Bulloch did all the hard work on the left before sending his cross to the far post where Griffiths’ weak header failed to trouble Basilio.

The first chance of the new half came the way of Future’s Mileta Miletic who burst into the 18-yard box only to have Stewart turn his explosive shot around the post. Joondalup finally got the result they were after in the 49th minute when Griffiths beat Admir Mehic to a long ball and flicked it over the advancing ‘keeper as Bulloch raced in to nod in the first goal of the afternoon. Spurred into action, Future launched wave after wave of attack to have the Joondalup backline under all the pressure. Two minutes after the opener Cibesku’s cross into the area was flicked on at the near post by Mehic and Nick Ward’s header narrowly cleared the bar. Miletic showed great skill and determination as he took on the opposing defence but in the end couldn’t make the most of his run. And in the 57th minute Mehic was frustrated by the out-stretched legs of Stewart after he broke clear.

Joondalup were put under even more pressure when Brown received his second yellow card after a late tackle on Naglieri who had been on the wrong end of several heavy challenges. A goal up and a man down, the northern suburbs side re-grouped to focus on holding onto their lead while breaking only occasionally on the counter-attack. A powerful shot from Miletic was blocked by Richard Watson who calmly played the ball long to Bulloch who was dispossessed by Ward as he lined up the target. With a similar move, Joondalup won themselves a corner in the 79th minute which Griffiths sent to the back post where McCulloch’s bullet-like header rippled the back of the net before the Future defence had time to react. Two goals down, Future refused to concede defeat and ten minutes later Shaun Kilkelly kept them in the game with a fine run which took him past the defence, Stewart parrying his low shot but Kilkelly heading the loose ball over the line to make it 2-1. In a tense finish, Griffiths and Vujacic were dismissed after an altercation in front of the stand as the nine-man Joondalup held on to record a deserved Cup victory.

After a sound debut season in the local League, Future were hoping to go out with bang by claiming the knock-out competition but at the end of the day it wasn’t to be. The Under-19 side had Basilio to thank that they weren’t a couple of goals down by the interval after producing a fine display between the posts, while Kilkelly and Ward also worked hard to keep their side in the game. For Joondalup it was their second Boral Cup triumph in five years, and coach Simmons was over the moon with the result. “The club, university and players are elated with the win and it just adds to the fairytale for Joondalup. Our season hasn’t really received the recognition it deserves after winning two trophies – the pre-season B.G.C. Cup and now the Boral Cup – and playing with a side that, in the main, is the youngest in the Premier League.” In a solid Joondalup team performance Mason won the man-of-the-match award, but he was no doubt pushed all the way by another non-stop performance from teenager Bulloch and experienced central defender Watson.

Teams – Future Glory: GK Michael Basilio, Shaun Kilkelly, Admir Mehic, James Hesketh, Robert Cibesku (Peter Lord 59), Miki Vujacic, Antonio Naglieri (Chris Ritson 82), Nick Ward, Robert Monterosso (Daniel Arias 63), Michael Garcia, Mileta Miletic  - Yellow Cards: Vujacic (86) – Red Cards: Vujacic (90)

ECU Joondalup: GK Peter Stewart, Richard Watson, Jamie Kuzmanovich, Andy Brown, Scott Blackmore (Craig Cheesman 62), Scott Bulloch, Kevin Griffiths, Mark Ristofski (Gary Murray 90), Dale McCulloch, Garin Collins, Andy Mason – Yellow Cards: Brown (56), McCulloch (62), Griffiths (75), Kuzmanovich (86) – Red cards: Brown (65), Griffiths (90) – Referee: Michael Klaver