From the advent of the National Soccer League in 1977 until St George’s final year of national league football in 1990/91, the Saints played in fourteen seasons, before its application for the 1991/92 season was declined, with the result that the club returned to state league in 1992.
The Saints finished as national champions on one occasion (1983), while we also won two end of season Grand Finals (1982 and 1987), both years when the champions were considered first past the post. As we have seen previously, the Saints also made one National Cup Final (1979).
St George’s final match in the NSL was against Sydney United (then known as Sydney Croatia) at Edensor Park, and the Saints signed off with a 3-0 victory. Our final goalscorer in our NSL history was current Fox Sports commentator, Andy Harper.
Our lineup that day was:
John Filan, Mike O’Shea, Scott Baillie, Craig Moffitt, Andy Koczka, Blago Milicevic, Osvaldo El Ali, Zoran Ilic (Peter Tsekenis 45), Matthew Bingley, Vince Colagiuri (Andrew Dowling 68), Andy Harper.
Sydney Croatia 0 v St George 3 (Harper 12, 83, Bingley 46) Crowd: 1896
Many names from that day are well known. John Filan went on to an auspicious career in the English Premier League, principally with Blackburn Rovers and Wigan Athletic, while also playing for Australia at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. Peter Tsekenis played for Australia at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, while Matthew Bingley made 21 appearances for the Socceroos between 1993 and 1997. As well as Tsekenis and Bingley, others including Andy Koczka, Scott Baillie, Craig Moffatt, Mike O’Shea, as well as Harper, and Zoran Ilic, moved on to other clubs in the NSL.
With son Stefan Ilic again with the Saints, the name continues on.
Another member of the squad that day, but who didn’t make the field, was Manny Spanoudakis, who of course, went on to coach the Saints on two separate occasions, most recently taking the club to the NPL Men’s 2 Premiership and Championship, and promotion, in 2013.