North Geelong Warriors FC

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North Geelong Warriors FC
North Geelong emblem
Full name North Geelong Warriors
Football Club
Nickname(s) North, Warriors, Croatia, Croacija
Founded November 1967; 50 years ago (1967-11)
Ground Australian–Croatian Sporting Centre, Elcho Park, Lara
Ground Capacity 5,000 (200 Seating Capacity)
Captain Michael Anderson
Chairman Vlado Džajkić
Coach James Coutts
League NPL Victoria
2017 14th in NPL (relegated)
Website Club website
Current season

North Geelong Warriors Football Club, formerly known as North Geelong Croatia, is an Australian semi-professional soccer club from the regional Victorian city of Geelong. The club currently competes in the National Premier Leagues Victoria, Australia's joint second division in the country's league system. The club was founded in 1967 by a large contingent of ethnic Croatians in the city of Geelong[1] and is a regular participant in the Australian-Croatian Soccer Tournament, which it has hosted four times and won for the first time in 2014. North Geelong's home base is Elcho Park in the northern Geelong suburb of Lara, Victoria. The club's biggest achievement is winning the 1992 Victorian Premier League title – becoming the first promoted side to ever achieve such a feat.[2]


Early Beginnings[edit]

North Geelong Croatia Soccer Club was formed around Christmas time in December 1967 by newly arrived Croatian migrants Mirko Hrkač, Ivan Sesar, Joe Radojević, Vinko Radojević and Aldo Siketa.[3] North Geelong’s first season saw it compete in Division 2 of the Ballarat, Geelong and Districts Soccer Association (BGDSA) in 1968, finishing in fourth place of the ten team division.[4] The following year, North competed in Division 1 and a reserve side was formed. In 1970, the club fielded its first junior side, which competed under the name North United.

The 70s[edit]

In 1972, the Club competed in the Victorian Provisional League for the first time in its history. The season was marred by an incident involving an altercation with a referee in North Geelong’s Round 6 match against Werribee which saw the club immediately expelled from the Victorian Provisional League. The VSF disallowed the club from competing in any further matches that year.[5]

North Geelong was accepted back into the BGDSA competition in 1973, where it was, for the majority of seasons, the dominant force in the league. Croatia won the BDGSA league in ’73, ’74, ’76, ’77 and '78[4]

Return to State Competition[edit]

In 1979, North Geelong re-joined the Victorian Provisional League, run by the VSF, and was placed into Division Three. North finished in a very respectable third place.[6] Also in 1979, North Geelong Croatia bought a block of land in Lara where its current home base on Gibbons Road now stands. The land cost a sum of $12,000.[4]

Rise Through the Ranks[edit]

Croatia then won back-to-back premierships in 1980,[7] and 1981.[8] In 1982, following its Provisional League Division Two title, North Geelong skipped promotion to Provisional League Division One, thanks to a league restructure, and entered the Victorian Metropolitan League Division Four, at the time the fifth tier of Victorian soccer, the highest rung the club had reached in its short history.[4]

North Geelong made the move to Elcho Park in 1986, hosting the Geelong Pre-Season Cup in pre-season, winning the competition.[4] The first competitive league game at the venue was a 3-3 draw between North Geelong and Essendon City on 29 March 1986.[4]

After four consecutive top four finishes in Division Two, North Geelong finally achieved promotion when it took out the league championship in 1989.[9] North Geelong Croatia endured a difficult start to life in Division One in 1990. After a shaky start, Branko Čulina was able to lead the club to a respectable seventh-place finish.

Victorian Premier League Era[edit]

In 1991, with the club run by a new committee headed by Steve Horvat Senior and the first team managed by Čulina, North Geelong Croatia won the Division 1 title, finishing a point ahead of Knox City. and hence promotion to the Victorian Premier League (VPL), reaching the pinnacle of Victorian soccer for the first time in the club’s history.

In its inaugural season in the VPL, 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 three 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, a record that still stands to this day. 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 Croatia NSL championship side of the mid 90s.

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 club legend Richard O'Sullivian and future star player and future socceroo in Josip Skoko.

In 1994, North Geelong Croatia Soccer Club became North Geelong Warriors Soccer Club when the Victorian Soccer Federation banned ethnic names.

In 1997, North Geelong’s six-year stint in the top-flight came to an end as it endured relegation from the Premier League.

Regression, Rebuild[edit]

In 1999, the club was relegated once more, to the Victorian State League Two North-West. The Club remained in Division 2 for the next six season, with mixed results.

Throughout the early 2000s, North Geelong battled away in the Victorian State League Division 2 North-West, finishing in mid-table each year for the period.

2004 marked the beginning of players returning home to North Geelong having left the club in the 90s for NSL and VPL opportunities. The Cervinski brothers, Mijo Trupković, Ante Deak and Greg Šarić were all players that returned to the club from 2004 onwards.

In 2005, with the introduction of new coach Robert Krajačić, North Geelong blazed its way to the State League Division Two North-West title, losing only 4 matches. North Geelong were subject to relegation in 2007, returning to State League 2 N/W.

In 2009, Vinko Buljubašić led the club back to State League 1, winning State League 2 North-West.

After an inconsistent 2010 season, the club finished in 8th spot in the Victorian State League Division One, well clear of relegation, but also lower than expectations. In the summer of 2011, Vinko Buljubasic was relieved of his duties as manager[10] and replaced by Ante Skoko with his brother, a recently retired professional footballer, Josip Skoko, as his assistant.[11] North Geelong finished in 6th place in State League One in 2011.[12]

At the end of the 2012 season, with the club just missing out on promotion, the Skoko brothers stepped down from their joint post as managers of the club.

In 2013, Mario Jurjevic replaced Ante Skoko with disastrous results, having just three points from 12 games and Skoko was brought back. Despite a late revival, North Geelong were relegated from State 1.

National Premier Leagues Victoria (2014-Present)[edit]

After a restructuring of soccer in Victoria in 2014, North Geelong found their bid for a place in the National Premier Leagues accepted, therefore avoiding relegation and remaining in the second tier of soccer in Victoria, now known as the National Premier Leagues Victoria 1.[13] In North Geelong's first ever NPL1 contest, the club came away with a 2–1 away victory over sister club Dandenong City SC.[14] Ante Skoko resigned from his post three months into the new season, with the club in 11th place in the new 14 team league. Former St Albans Saints SC manager Micky Čolina took over.[15] The club sealed promotion to the top division on 13 September 2014, with a 1–0 win over rivals St. Albans,[16] ending the season in second place, three points adrift of league champions Avondale Heights SC. The club also won the Geelong Pre-Season Cup, Victorian Croatian Cup and won the Australian-Croatian Soccer Tournament for the first time in early October.

Ahead of the 2015 season, the club re-signed head manager Čolina to a two-year deal and retained the core of the promoted 2014 squad. The season started with a 0–2 loss to eventual champions Bentleigh Greens at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex, followed up by a 0–3 loss to eventual premiers South Melbourne FC at Elcho Park, but Round 3 saw the Warriors record their first points of the season with a 6–1 victory over Green Gully SC, with winger Robbie Zadworny scoring a hattrick.[17] However, after 14 rounds of the 2015 NPL Victoria season, the club were in last place with just five points. The Reds managed to turn it around, though, securing 16 points in the last 11 rounds of the season, including two wins in the last two games of the season against Dandenong Thunder SC and Werribee City FC, with both of the wins confirming relegation for its opponents. The club finished in 12th place and qualified for the NPL promotion / relegation playoff against Melbourne Victory FC Youth. North Geelong lost 2–0 in front of over 1,000 at J L Murphy Reserve in Port Melbourne, confirming relegation to NPL2 for the 2016 season.[18]

During the off-season there were a number of departures.[19] The club signed Kene Eze, an American striker who previously turned out for Pittsburgh Riverhounds.[20][21] North Geelong announced that a partnership had been formed with NPL South Australia side Adelaide Raiders, a fellow Croatian-Australian founded soccer side.[22] North Geelong travelled to Gepps Cross and, on 6 February, won the first ever Friendship Cup against Adelaide Raiders by a score of 2-1. The league competition started with a trip to sister-club St Albans Saints SC which finished in a 1-1 draw.[23] North Geelong moved into outright top spot of the NPL2 West ladder after a 1-0 win over Brunswick City SC, a match in which Nicholas Jurčić tapped in a 93rd-minute winner.[24] A tough run of results followed, with the Warriors winning just one of the next seven games in the league, slipping to fourth position on the ladder. North exited the 2016 FFA Cup at the hands of South Melbourne FC in Round 6 with a 0-2 loss at bogey ground JL Murphy Reserve. The Warriors went undefeated in the last ten games of the season, pushing the title race to the last day. St Albans took out the NPL2 West title and automatic promotion on the final match-day with a 1-0 win over Whittlesea Ranges FC while North Geelong took second place and a spot in the NPL2 promotion playoff against NPL2 East runner-up Dandenong Thunder SC.[25] The Warriors produced a mercurial performance in the NPL2 promotion playoff, defeating the fancied Thunder 4-1, with Michael Anderson grabbing a hattrick.[26] North then faced Richmond SC in the NPL promotion / relegation playoff and confirmed a return to the top fight of Victorian soccer with a 4-0 win, Matt Thorne scoring twice with Michael Anderson and Michael Simms adding singles in another emphatic win.[27]

Returning to the top-flight, the Warriors signed Andrew Doig from Moreland City FC, Bobby Vidanoski and Marko Stevanja from Werribee City, Ivan Grgić from Melbourne Knights and Henry Durr from Perth Glory Youth.[28][29] Taking out the first Friendship Cup at Elcho Park with a 4-1 win over Adelaide Raiders in pre-season, North Geelong went into Round 1 high on confidence and took a point from CB Smith Reserve in a 1-1 draw against Pascoe Vale FC. North managed just one more point in the following seven rounds and were thumped 8-0 at Olympic Village by a ten-man Heidelberg United FC. A mini mid-season revival ensued, where the Warriors went one win, four draws and one loss in six games, but nine consecutive losses following confirmed another relegation back to NPL2 for 2018.[30] Following the relegation, Čolina and North Geelong agreed to part ways and the coach left after three and a half seasons at the helm.[31]

North Geelong began its rebuild for the 2018 season by appointing former A-League assistant coach Luciano Trani as its senior head coach.[32] The appointment was billed as one of its biggest coups in recent history for the club.[33] Trani oversaw a huge turnover in the playing ranks, with just two players, Michael Anderson and Marko Stevanja, from the 2017 side remaining. Long-time servants like Daniel Zilic (10 years), Darren Lewis and Matthew Townley (6 years), and Vito Cichello (5 years) all ended their association with the club. North and Trani turned to local talent and youth to build the squad. Former players Michael Boyar, Anthony Banovac, Hamish Flavell and Nicholas Anderson returned to Elcho Park, while former junior players Jamie Noggler and Thomas Hidic ensured a strong club-grown feel to the crop. 11 games into the 2018 season, with the club sitting in fourth place, head coach Trani handed in his resignation.[34] On 1 June 2018, North Geelong named James Coutts as the new senior head coach of the club, confirming also that he would be taking over in a player-coach capacity.[35]

Notable coaches[edit]


International representatives[edit]

Current squad[edit]


[42] Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Australia GK Hamish Flavell
4 Australia DF Lewis Waight
5 Australia DF Anthony Banovac
7 Australia MF Ryan Oppermann
8 Australia MF Andreas Miltiadou
9 Australia FW Thomas Hidic
10 Australia FW Domenico Marafioti
11 Australia FW Michael Anderson (Captain)
12 Australia MF Aleksandar Petkoski
No. Position Player
15 Australia DF Kreso Jurkovic
17 Australia FW Jamie Noggler
18 Australia DF Nicholas Anderson
19 Australia DF Andrew Scicluna
21 Australia MF Julian Cassano
23 Australia MF Michael Boyar
24 United States FW Darius Madison
25 Australia DF Nicholas Teichmann
77 Australia GK Marko Stevanja

Presidential History[edit]

Name Years
Mirko Hrkač 1967–1968
Aldo Siketa 1969–1970
Vinko Radojevic 1971–1972
Aldo Siketa 1973
Mirko Hrkač 1974
Vinko Radojević 1975
Ivan Mrkogača 1976–1977
Pero Juran 1978
Mirko Hrkač 1979–1981
Name Years
Vinko Radojević 1982
Marijan Demo 1982
Ivan Mrkogača 1983
Martin Groher 1984–1985
George Steinbruckner 1986
Martin Groher 1986–1987
Marijan Demo 1988
Mirko Hrkač 1989
Drago Vlahović 1990
Nikola Jurčić 1990
Name Years
Stjepan Horvat 1991–1992
Pejo Marić 1993
Stjepan Horvat 1994
Steve Perinac 1995
Stjepan Horvat 1996
Drago Čosić 1997–1998
Branko Matijević 1999
Duro Tilinger 2000–2003
Vlado Džajkić 2004
Name Years
Ivan Perše 2005–2006
Stanko Demo 2007–2008
Josip Žilić 2009–2011
Daniel Deša 2012–2013
Božo Sesar 2013
Ivi Deak 2014
Andro Jurković 2015
Vlado Džajkić 2016-

Managerial History[edit]

  • 2018– James Coutts
  • 2018 Luciano Trani
  • 2014–2017 Micky Čolina
  • 2014 Ante Skoko
  • 2014 Ante Šarčević
  • 2013 Ante Skoko
  • 2013 Mario Jurjević
  • 2011–2012 Ante Skoko
  • 2008–2010 Vinko Buljubašić
  • 2007 Eddie Krnčević
  • 2007 Ian Williamson
  • 2005–2006 Robert Krajacic
  • 2000–2004 Robert Noggler
  • 1998-1999 Unknown
  • 1997 Adrian Beggs
  • 1997 Mate Božić
  • 1996 Steve Radojević
  • 1995 Eddie Kovačević
  • 1994 Bogdan Bonk
  • 1993 Tony Vrzina
  • 1990–1992 Branko Čulina
  • 1989-1990 Andrija Albert
  • 1970-71 Steve Horvat
  • 1969 Pajo Drenovac
  • 1968 Andrija Macokatić




  • Ballarat, Geelong and Districts Soccer Association/Western Victoria Soccer Association Champions (5): 1973,1974,1976,1977,1978
  • Geelong Advertiser Cup/City of Greater Geelong Cup Champions (20): 1985, 1986, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
  • Geelong Advertiser Cup/City of Greater Geelong Cup Runner-Up (5): 1988, 1990, 1998, 2000, 2002
  • Australian-Croatian Soccer Tournament Champions 2014
  • Victorian Croatian Cup Champions (3): 2009, 2014, 2015

Individual Honours[edit]

Victorian Premier League Gold Medal – VPL Player of the Year

Bill Fleming Medal – Media voted VPL Player of the Year

Victorian Premier league Coach of the Year

Victorian Premier League Under 21 Player of the Year

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

Weinstein Medal Junior Player of the Year

Divisional History[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Diversitat – Geelong Community Services – Croatian Community". Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  2. ^ "North Geelong celebrations | Sports & Editorial Services Australia". Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  3. ^ "North Geelong Social Club » Unsung hero of local soccer for nearly 50 years". Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "History - North Geelong Warriors FC". North Geelong Warriors FC. Retrieved 13 November 2016. 
  5. ^ Punshon, John. "1972 Victorian Provisional League Table". OzFootball. 
  6. ^ Punshon, John. "1979 Victorian Provisional League Division Three Table". OzFootball. Retrieved 13 November 2016. 
  7. ^ Punshon, John. "1980 Victorian Provisional League Division Three Table". OzFootball. 
  8. ^ Punshon, John. "1981 Victorian Provisional League Division Two Table". OzFootball. 
  9. ^ Punshon, John. "1989 Victorian League Division Two Table". OzFootball. 
  10. ^ "North Geelong Social Club » North Geelong Warriors have parted ways with first team coach Vinko Buljubasic". Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  11. ^ "North Geelong Social Club » New Season brings on changes at North Geelong Warriors". Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "FFV announces NPL structure for 2014". Football Federation Australia. Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  14. ^ Jukic, Ante. "Warriors claim three points in NPL1 debut". Geelong Advertiser. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  15. ^ Zilic, Josip. "Warriors Meet Sister Club With New Coach". GeelongIndy. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  16. ^ Woodger, Rusty. "Warriors sink Saints to seal promotion". Football Federation Victoria. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  17. ^ Willoughby, James. "North Geelong Warriors hand Green Gully 6–1 smashing". Geelong Advertiser. Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  18. ^ Manuca, David. "Victory wins promotion at North Geelong's expense". Football Federation Victoria. Retrieved 26 September 2015. 
  19. ^ Kounelis, Jordan. "Emotional farewell for Luka, North Geelong part with seven". MFootball. Retrieved 21 December 2015. 
  20. ^ Federico, Tom. "Warriors scoop Burakhan Koca from Avondale". MFootball. Retrieved 21 January 2016. 
  21. ^ "CONFIRMED: Kene Eze On Trial With North Geelong Warriors". SoccerViza. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  22. ^ "North Geelong Warriors and Adelaide Raiders Announce Partnership". North Geelong Warriors FC. Retrieved 28 January 2016. 
  23. ^ "Match Report: NPL2 R1: St Albans Saints 1-1 North Geelong". Retrieved 26 February 2016. 
  24. ^ Jukić, Ante. "NPL2: Late break see North Geelong Warriors steal thrilling victory". Geelong Advertiser. Retrieved 13 May 2016. 
  25. ^ Kulas, Damir. "Six-year top-tier absence ended as St Albans rejoice". The Corner Flag. Retrieved 12 September 2016. 
  26. ^ Gojszyk, Mark. "Colina focused after Warriors move closer to promotion". The Corner Flag. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  27. ^ Molloy, Bill. "Warriors return to Victorian top flight". MFootball. Retrieved 18 September 2016. 
  28. ^ Gojszyk, Mark. "Grgic becomes first new Warrior for 2017". The Corner Flag. Retrieved 26 August 2017. 
  29. ^ Banovac, Anthony. "Stevanja Makes Elcho Park Move". North Geelong Warriors FC. Retrieved 26 August 2017. 
  30. ^
  31. ^ Young, Lachie. "NPL 2017: North Geelong Warriors coach Micky Colina to leave club after disappointing year". Geelong Advertiser. Retrieved 4 September 2017. 
  32. ^ "North Geelong Appoints Luciano Trani". North Geelong Warriors FC. 
  33. ^ "Geelong Advertiser". Retrieved 2017-10-10. 
  34. ^ Reynolds, Ryan. "NPL2 soccer: North Geelong coach Luciano Trani's shock resignation". Geelong Advertiser. Retrieved 8 May 2018. 
  35. ^ Greenway, Beau (2018-06-01). "Former Murray United mentor James Coutts to coach North Geelong". The Border Mail. Retrieved 2018-06-03. 
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^

External links[edit]