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Club History

Club HistoryDUE to the lack of records there has been some debate as to when the Colts were actually formed. Initially, 1955 was believed to be the year that the first meeting was held to form the Club As our research has been inconclusive, we have relied on the memories of players in that era. One thing that is certain through those sources though is that the Colts commenced playing in 1959 so this is certainly our 50th season of competition. So, while we may in fact be a little past the 50th anniversary we thought it was most appropriate to celebrate our 50th season as the Colts in conjunction with the Centenary of Rugby League in Australia.

By way of background it is known the Club was formed and eventually named the ‘ColtsÙ by police sergeant Davies from Hurstville to provide an activity for the young boys of the area who were a disturbance as they rode their horses through the Wolli Creek bush area and were a nuisance to all and sundry. Whilst horse riding is no longer an activity in the area, an important role of our Club is not just in providing a rugby league facility and winning games but to help develop young men in the local area. Moises Henriques is a very good recent example of this philosophy. Whilst being a gifted footballer it was clear MoisesÙ talents were with cricket which we encouraged and after giving up a promising football career he has gone on to captain the U/19 Australian team and now plays for NSW. Moises is the youngest player since Doug Walters to represent NSW. Over the years the Colts have also given financial, coaching and mentoring support to many players to further develop their skills.

In the early days some well known names such as Col Burnett, John (slug) Le Cussan, Bluey Gerrin and his brother played. The first recorded President was Mr Burt Riley father of Roger Riley who is the past President of the St George Junior Rugby League and the first secretary was Mr Eric Cox who was very prominent with the NRL until he passed away two years ago.

The Club is proud to have had many players who have played first grade for St George including Merv Boatswain, Connell Byrnes, John Conway, Greg Duval, John French, Ray Grigg, Michael Lockwood, Vince OÙSullivan, Garry Newham and Garry Souter and probably our best known representative in Michael Sorridimi who played in 88 first grade games for St George including the last premiership that Saints won in 1979. Also Bruce Starkey, who played in 137 first grade games for St George was graded with Saints after having his final year of juniors at the Colts in B Grade in 1973.

Approximately 35 others went on to play at grade level in Australia and overseas.

Another Colts player who went on to bigger things was Shaun McRae who played for the Colts from 1977 to 1979 and later went on to coach South Sydney at the start of the Crowe/Holmes aÙCourt era. Shaun now coaches Salford City in the National League One in England.

However, it is not just the players who went on play for St George who make up the history of the Club. The Club is made up of many gifted players and personalities. Names like Lee Doulman who played 386 games for the Club, John Conway, Peter Gibson, Ken Davidson, Steve Berlyn, Dave Way, Ronnie Mason, Lino LaManna, Garry Donovan, who played 284 games, readily come to mind. These guys contributed greatly to the reputation we have today.

It all did not happen on the field however and we are forever grateful to the long line of administrators who have helped build and maintain the Club. The work of people like Doug Wilson, Kevin Dredge, Garry Donovan, John Fowler, Bobby Hollingsworth and Ken Benjamin to name a few in the early days gave us the basis to grow to the strength we are today. This has allowed more recent administrators and workers like Steve Kelly, Con Tziomakis, Garry FaÙafua, Peter Goddard, Del Carayannis, Phill and Noelene Hughes, Danny Ebejer, Peter Veigel, our great friend the late Liz Clarke and 2008-elected Life Member Silvana La Manna to continue on the good work where we have gone from being as small as a one team junior Club in 1991 operating out of a caravan to Club Champions in 2006 and 07, using modern facilities at Beverly Hills Park built substantially from funds raised, and labour and materials provided by Club Members. In recognising more recent efforts Leba and Gabi Abihanna and for that matter their whole families in their administration and support of the Club have been the backbone of the Club for a number of years now .

The Colts won a number of premierships through all the Grades during its first 30 years when competitions were better known as A, B, C Grade etc and certainly entered a halcyon period during the 1970Ùs, when with some of the noted players we won 4 A Grade competitions. 1973 was probably the best year in that period when we won the B,C, K and O Grade competitions and were the first Club in the St George Junior League to win both the Junior and Senior Club Championships in the one year. Whilst remaining competitive after that interest waned and as all clubÙs experience at some stage the number of teams dropped significantly to the point where we only had two teams in 1989. Reform and renewed energy from a number of people parents with players in the younger age groups, many of whom are here tonight saw the number of teams steadily build up.

During the late 1990Ùs the club started to transform itself and began to professionalise.

The first instance of this was moving away from the tired cotton design in a move toward the 21st century.The club took to the field in a bold new jersey for the first time in decades. The new strip maintained its historical link but modernised. The jersey has progressed to the one-off celebratory strip which the players are wearing this year.The clubs logo was also updated.

To further strengthen the clubs off-field position via plenty of lobbying to Hurstville Council and a lot of hard work by the executive of the time the club erected the canteen and dressing room facilities.

It was the clubhouse the parents built.

A lot of people involved in the club spent endless amount of hours helping to build the dressing sheds with their own bare heads.

The move forward was a far cry from the previously non-existent sheds while the entire club was run out of a mobile caravan.

Moving into the 21st century saw the most successful period in the Kingsgrove Colts history culminating in 2006 with the club winning only its second junior club championship since the trophy was awarded in 1972. The club backed up the award last year and currently sit at the top of the junior club championship.

In 2006 the Colts also won the senior club championship.

A further addition to the park in recent years has been the flood lighting. Having previously trained under one light pole the club now uses four poles to light up the park enabling it to feature night football matches.

Without doubt the most dominant team in recent times has been the Steve Costonis coached sides. The team won five successive competitions from under 10 to under 14 with their unbeaten run coming to an end last year.

Other successful teams in recent seasons have included the Con Tziomakis coached under-13s in 2000, the under-12s in 2006 coached by Gabi Abihanna and Alex Filipopoulos and last year the under-10s blue coached by Michael Carayannis and the under 11s red coached George Falak.

In 2008 the Kingsgrove Colts claimed three more premierships. The Michael Carayannis coached under-11 side defended their title going through the season undefeated. While the under-16 side coached by Leba Abihanna and the under-17 side coached by Nathan Karem also claimed titles.

 

Our history will always be continued...

Compiled by Peter Goddard and Michael Carayannis (updated December 2008)

 

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