Dandenong Thunder SC
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|Full name||Dandenong Thunder Soccer Club|
|Ground||George Andrews Reserve,
|League||National Premier Leagues Victoria NPL 1|
Dandenong Thunder SC is a soccer club from Dandenong, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. They are an Albanian Australian-backed club. Thunder compete in the National Premier Leagues Victoria 2 East. In 2012, Dandenong claimed the famous treble of the Victorian Premier League Minor Premiership, the Football Federation Victoria State Knockout Cup and the VPL championship.
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The club was founded in 1970 as South Dandenong by Albanian migrants. Even today the club is primarily backed and supported by Albanians and Albanian-Australians living in Melbourne. They started competing in the Victorian District League East Division, which was the eighth tier of football (soccer) in Victorian Football Pyramid. For decades they were playing in the lower divisions until the mid-1990s when they started to climb the entire Victorian pyramid. In 1994 they were playing in State League Division 3, and every year managed to get promotion to a higher level until they reached the Victorian Premier League in 1998.
After a successful 1997 season, when they became the champions of Victorian State League Division 1, South Dandenong played their first ever Victorian Premier League season in 1998. Being led by their player-coach Fadil Muriqi, the team managed to stay in the Victorian Premier League after finishing the season in 12th place. Same thing didn't happen in the following season and the team was relegated to Victorian State League Division 1.
They came back in Victorian Premier League in 2001 but were relegated again as the season ended.
At the end of the 2001 season, South Dandenong underwent a name change, becoming Dandenong Thunder. They spent the following seven seasons in the Victorian State League Division 1. The Club began spending more on players in 2007, bringing in Veton Korcari from Richmond SC and Louis Brain, a former A-League player for Adelaide United and were promoted from State League 1 in 2008.
Thunder surprised everyone in their return to the top flight, clinching the 2009 Victorian Premier League Minor Premiership with a lead of 12 points. Thunder managed to go undefeated for the first 15 rounds of the season, taking their running total to 31 games undefeated, stretching back to Round 5 of the 2008 season. Individual player achievements included youngster Jack Hingert being selected to play for A-League side North Queensland Fury and Joey Di Iorio winning the golden boot. Despite their season long domination, Thunder eventually lost the Grand Final to Altona Magic SC on penalties.
In the 2012 season, Thunder managed a famous treble, the first in their history. They won the Victorian State Knockout Cup, beating Port Melbourne Sharks in the Grand Final on penalties, the Minor Premiership and the Championship, beating Oakleigh Cannons 2–1 in the Grand Final at AAMI Park. This was their first ever VPL Championship.
There was a big black mark on the game though, as Dandenong Thunder fans let off a number of flares, one of which burned two girls. The club copped a $40,000 ban, the biggest in Victorian football history, and were forced to play their next 10 games without fans. Thunder placed seventh the following season.
National Premier Leagues Victoria
In late 2013, the club had their bid for a place in the National Premier Leagues Victoria accepted and competed in the top tier of the NPL Victoria in 2014. Thunder placed 9th in the 14 team league in 2014. Young winger Matthew Millar was the club's top goalscorer with seven goals, also winning the NPL Rising Star award.
In 2015, Thunder slashed its budget in an attempt to reduce club debt, and replaced many higher earners with young and inexperienced but talented players. Then manager Dean Hennessey also departed, joining Hume City FC, and the club brought in Stuart Munro as the new head coach. The season didn't go to plan, though, with the team struggling to put together good performances. Relegation was confirmed in Round 25, when the side lost 3–0 to North Geelong Warriors FC.
In the off-season, Thunder named Huss Skenderovic as the coach for the 2016 NPL1 season, and announced the signing of former Melbourne Victory FC player Kristian Sarkies. On the final day of the transfer window, Thunder signed former Socceroo Simon Colosimo and English striker Brandon Barnes. Dandenong Thunder opened its NPL2 East campaign with 15 consecutive wins, before a 3–3 draw against NPL2 West leaders Whittlesea Ranges FC in Round 16. On 14 April, Dandenong were deducted three league points after being found guilty by the Football Federation Victoria tribunal of fielding ineligible player Amir Osmančević in Round 1, where he should have sat out through a suspension accumulated the previous season while at his previous club. Thunder's first loss of the season came in Round 21, when it unexpectedly went down to Box Hill United SC by two goals to one. Thunder lost three more games in the final seven games of the season, leading to Kingston City FC winning the league title on the final matchday of the season, despite Thunder seeming to have had the title secured for most of the season. Dandy's second place finish meant it went to the NPL2 promotion playoff, facing North Geelong Warriors FC, whom they had beaten 2–0 at Elcho Park earlier in the season. Despite going into the clash as favourites, Thunder went down 4–1 , North Geelong condemning the side to NPL2 football for the second season running. At the end of season awards night, Thunder marksman Barnes took out both the league Top Goalscorer and league Best and Fairest awards.
Dandenong Thunder lost senior head manager Huss Skenderović as he joined Adelaide United FC to become the A-League side's head W-League and National Youth League coach. Thunder began its preparations for 2017 by appointing Italian Giuseppe Anastasi as its new head coach for the 2017 NPL2 East season. Thunder had to chance coaches just a few weeks later. As Anastasi was unable to travel to Australia due to family reasons, Dandenong reacted by appointing Gianfranco Impellizzeri to the helm.
As of 17 January 2016
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
- 2012– Victorian Premier League Premiers
- 2012– Victorian Premier League Minor Premiers
- 2012– Dockerty Cup Winners (FFV State Knockout Cup)
- 2009– Victorian Premier League Minor Premiers
- 2008– Victorian State League Division 1 Runners-Up
- 2000– Victorian State League Division 1 Champion
- 1997– Victorian State League Division 1 Champion
- 1996– Victorian State League Division 2 Runners-Up
- 1995– Victorian State League Division 3 Runners-Up
- 1991– Victorian State League Division 4 Runners-Up
- 1990– Victorian Provisional League 1 Champion
- 1989– Victorian Provisional League 2 Runners-Up
- 1988– Victorian Provisional League 3 Champion
- 2016– NPL2 Best and Fairest: Brandon Barnes
- 2016– NPL2 Players' Player of the Year: Brandon Barnes
- 2016– NPL2 Golden Boot: Brandon Barnes
- 2016– NPL2 Goalkeeper of the Year: Fraser Maclaren
- 2014– NPL Rising Star Winner: Matthew Millar
- 2012– Jimmy Rooney Medalist: Nate Foster
- 2012– Jimmy McKay Medalist: Shane Rexhepi
- 2012– Victorian Premier League Goalkeeper of the Year: Stuart Webster
- 2012– Victorian Premier League Coach of the Year: Chris Taylor
- 2012– Victorian Premier League Leading Goal Scorer: Luke Sherbon
- 2012– Bill Fleming Media Award Player of the Year: Luke Sherbon
- 2009– Victorian Premier League Coach of the Year: Stuart Munro
- 2009– Victorian Premier League Leading Goal Scorer: Joe Di Iorio
- 2016– Brandon Barnes 41 goals (Awarded League Golden Boot)
- 2015– Yusuf Ahmed 11 goals
- 2014– Matthew Millar 7 goals
- 2013– Unknown
- 2012– Luke Sherbon 21 goals (Awarded League Golden Boot)
- 2011– Luke Sherbon 14 goals
- 2010– Jamie Reed 6 Goals
- 2009– Joe Di Iorio 18 Goals (Awarded League Golden Boot)
- 2008– Ryan Davidson 11 Goals
- 2007– Veton Korcari 10 Goals (Runner up in the league)
- 2006– Ryan Davidson 9 Goals
- 2005– Leon Buhic 9 Goals
- 2004– Veton Korcari 9 Goals
- 2003– Miles Tidd, Joey Di Iorio 11 Goals
- 2002– Alfonso Opazo 10 Goals
- 2001– Boris Ovcin 4 Goals
- 2000– Victor Korkaric 17 Goals
- 1999– Nick Van Egmond, Billy Wright 7 Goals
- 1998– Pino Corallo, Reshat Mezensof 11 Goals
- 1997– Billy Wright 28 Goals (Top scorer in the league)
- 1996– Billy Wright 30 Goals (Top scorer in the league)
- 1995– Billy Wright 27 Goals (Joint Top scorer in the league)
- 1994– Billy Wright 22 Goals (Top scorer in the league)
Club Champion Award
- 2012 – Luke Sherbon
- 2011 – Shane Rexhepi
- 2010 – Levent Osman
- 2009 – Levent Osman
- 2008 – Levent Osman
- "NPL 2 East side Dandenong Thunder signs Simon Colosimo". Greater Dandenong Leader. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
- "Thunder deducted points for fielding ineligible Osmancevic". The Corner Flag. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
- Lim, Jordan. "Elmazovski and Thunder ready to bounce back". The Corner Flag. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
- Odell, Thomas. "Dandy ready to do it the hard way". MFootball. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
- Frederico, Tom. "Anderson the hero as North Geelong defeat Thunder in NPL 2 playoff". MFootball. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
- Frederico, Tom. "2016 Gold Medal night award winners". MFootball. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
- "Reds announce Hussein Skenderovic as Head of Youth Development and Women's Football". Adelaide United FC. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
- Kulas, Damir. "Thunder appoint Italian Anastasi as manager". The Corner Flag. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
- "Impellizzeri takes charge after Thunder forced into coaching change". The Corner Flag. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
- "Elite Celebrated at Victorian Football's Night of Nights". Football Federation Victoria. Retrieved 5 October 2016.