An extensive look at Launceston City FC (Juventus) history from being founded in 1957 and established out of South Launceston in 1958.
1957 - 1969: The Golden Years
The club was first known as Roma until joining the Northern Tasmania Soccer Association in 1958. Matteo Stossich and other inaugural members decided change the name from ‘Roma’ to ‘Juventus’ before commencing the season in 1958.
It didn’t take long for Launceston Juventus to make its mark on the Northern league, claiming the Northern League Championship in its second year of existence in 1959 going through the Northern league undefeated (21 matches) scoring 134 goals.
The club would repeat it’s near instant success for a further three seasons (1960, 1961, 1962) while playing out of Coronation Park. While playing out of Coronation Park in South Launceston the players would change at the AIC (Australian Italian Club) located at the time in George Street, Launceston and then drive a few kilometres to the ground for the match.
In 1960 the club played in its first State Championship which is held between the Southern and Northern Champions the match was played out of Mowbray Heights and ended in a one-sided loss at the hands of Southern club Caledonians 6-1 the final result.
1960 State Championship Side: E. Scaglioni, Donkers, T. Zanetto, A. Clark, Stephenson, T. Clark, M. Morosini, Buckley, Bartkus, E. Visentin, Sok
The following year (1961) was a different story and the club was able to bounce back and defeat a quality Rapid side in the State Championship final. The club earned their spot in the final on the back of another undefeated season in the Northern League.
In the State Final Rapid shot off to an early lead and claim our first ever State Championship winning 2-1 at Brooks High School. The victory was led by a strong second half performance from Northern Player of the Year Terry Clark and a controversial goal in the 78th minute which deflected off a player in an offside position.
1961 State Championship Side: A. Galloway, Longo, L. Mischis, J. Mooney, P. Mies, T Clark, M. Morosini, T. Zanetto, F. Pieruzzi, Visentin, A. Mitchell
The club had various home grounds in its early existence and was moving frequently with the club starting off at Coronation Park and soon after to Cypress Street but that was short lived when the ground was sold in 1963.
The 60’s proved to be the clubs most successful era and moved to its home ground to Brooks High School between 1963 to 1968 throughout this time winning a further four Northern Premier League titles in ’63, 65, ’66 and ’67.
The club won its second State Championship in 1963 beating Ulverstone 4-2 at Brooks High School with goals from Mario Morosini, Jack Mooney, A. Whitemore and B. Van de Pols.
1964 the club lost a few key players and relinquished the Northern League title to Launceston United. The team still managed to reach the Statewide Ampol Knockout Cup final via a thrilling 6-4 semi-final win over Caledonians but losing out to Olympia in the final 3 nil.
The Northern League title was once again ours in 1965 after going undefeated throughout the season and have us pitting ourselves against Olympia in the State Championship final held at South Hobart, which we would lose in bizarre circumstances. The match was deadlocked at the end of extra time at 3 all and was ultimately decided on corners with Olympia winning 4 corners to 2.
1965 State Championship Side: L. Gugliotti, J. Mooney, J. Tedestki, L. Hodge, P. Mies, T. Strickland, M Morosini, H. Streit, P. Winnett, G. Arnott (C), B. Van de Pols
In 1966 the club would go one better and achieve a Northern and club first winning the Statewide Ampol Knockout Cup (Statewide Cup) against Hobart Rangers 2 nil but would again come up short for the State Championship against Olympia losing 3-1.
1966 State Championship Side: W. Lockett, Soligo, L. Mischis, A. Whitemore, Webb, T. Strickland, M. Morosini, H. Streit, Brazda, E. Visentin, B. Van De Pols Subs: Hadjaz, Pedeschi
The club took part in the official opening of a new ground in Launceston in 1966 based at the White City Greyhound Stadium in Invermay. The new ground was officially opened by Launceston Mayor Clarence Gandy Pryor and the day proceeded with a gala of matches with fellow local northern clubs Launceston United, South Launceston and George Town Saints.
1968 seen the club shift its home ground to the recently established centre of White City Greyhound Stadium. This change in home ground proved to be a good one reclaiming the Northern League title but once again coming undone against the quality Olympia side at White City losing 3-1, Hans Streit scoring our lone goal. We’d also reach the Northern Cup final against Launceston United but would forfeit due to a end of season players trip to Melbourne already being arranged.
A year later in the North of Tasmania the merger of the North and North-West Leagues came to fruition for the 1969 season becoming the Northern Combined League. The club continued on from the previous year and went onto win the first Northern Combined League by 6 points over Launceston United and finishing the season undefeated with an unblemished 18 wins from 18 matches and Hans Streit completing the successful year in taking out the leagues Golden Boot with 25 goals.
The 1969 State Championship was the first between the two Juventus clubs in Tasmania involving ourselves and sister club Hobart Juventus. The State Championship this time round was to be completed over two legs, the first leg to be played out of our then home ground White City which we won 4-2 thanks to a double from Hans Streit and singles to Morosini and Winett.
The second leg at South Hobart didn’t go according to script with Hobart Juventus coming out after half time scoring three goals to win on aggregate 6-5.
1969 State Championship Side: W. Lockett, Wilson, C. Baird, Brown, P. Mies, T. Strickland, Schroeder, H. Streit, M. Morosini, E. Visentin, B. Van de Pols Subs: F. de Paoli, Cook, P. Winnett
Throughout the 60’s numerous Launceston Juventus players went onto represent Northern Tasmania in representative tournaments and were talked about being some of the greats around that era such as: Terry Clark, George Arnott, Jack Mooney, Peter Mies, Tommy Strickland, Franco Pieruzzi, Mario Morosini, Enrico Visentin, Len Gugliotti, Toni Zanetto, Luigi Mischis, Hans Streit, Luciano Longo and Alan Whitemore
1970 - 1979: The Elusive State Championship
The 70’s didn’t start off to the best of starts with the club relinquishing the Northern Combined League title finishing third and four 5 points behind Champions George Town United after they signed three of our players Alan Whitemore, P. Winnet and N. Wilson.
The club signed influential Englishman and now Life Member Ross Wesson from Metro Claremont late in the season of 1971 going onto reclaim the Northern Combined League in 1971 over Launceston United on a +11-goal difference. The side would complete the double winning the Northern Knockout Cup against Launceston United over two legs.
In the 1971 State Championship Final the side were outclassed by Hobart Juventus losing 6-1 at White City, Invermay and also 6-2 away at South Hobart to lose 12-3 on aggregate. Hans Streit scoring a double at South Hobart and Van de Pols scoring the lone goal at White City.
1971 State Championship Final: W. Garrett, P. Robinson, F. de Paoli, A. Webb, T. Strickland, J. Beresford, P. Jones, H. Streit, L. Gleeson, P. Mies, R. Wesson Subs: M. Scaglioni, B. Van de Pols
1972 saw the club go back to back once more in taking out the Northern Combined League finishing 4 points (2 points per win) clear of runner up George Town United. Once again, the club came up short in the State Championship Final against Hobart Juventus losing the first leg at South Hobart 3 nil but winning the second leg 3-2 after a gallant effort at White City. Hans Streit again doing what he did best in scoring a double complemented by a strike from Robinson.
1973 proved to be a nail biter in the Northern Combined League as we failed to complete the treble finishing runner up to Ravenswood Olympic who was coached by club great and Life Member Peter Mies would go onto beat us in the second last game of the season 2-1 with another Life Member in action Leighton Hodge scoring the winner.
The League went down to the last game of the season and Devonport at Valley Road stood in our way from claiming the title as we went down 1 nil to finish one points behind Ravenswood who took care of business against Burnie Rovers at Montello 4-2.
The club would drop down to third at the conclusion of the 1974 season but would storm back with signing Devonport’s Champion goalkeeper Joe Udovicic to be Northern league winners in 1975, seven points clear of Ulverstone. Hans Streit once again being the leading the front line that scored 97 times and conceded 19 goal in 22 matches.
The proceeding State Championship would prove our undoing yet again this time at the hands of Croatia Glenorchy. The first leg played out of Brooks High ended in a 1 all draw with then State U16 representative Braden Carter scoring our solitary goal.
In the second leg at South Hobart things looked promising shooting off to a 2-1 lead until Croatia equalised in the 79th minute to send the game to extra-time and from there it was all Croatia Glenorchy running out 4-2 winners are adding to our long list of losses in the State Championship final.
1975 State Championship Side: J. Udovicic, F de Paoli, de Plotta, R. Wesson, T. Strickland, I. Spiranovic, Whitton, M. Morosini, H. Streit, B. Carter, A. Robinson Subs: P. Moore, J. Beresford, E. Visentin
In 1976 the club completed the double in winning a fifth Northern Combined League since its inception in 1969 and also taking out a second Ampol (Statewide Cup) on the back of a ‘brilliant game’ by goalkeeper Nick Scott to lead us to a 1 nil victory over Hobart Juventus, claiming the $900 cheque and trophy back in those days.
1976 Ampol Cup Winners: N. Scott, B. Colla, J. Butler, V. Beal, T. Strickland, B. Hemsley, H. Streit, D. Collinghan, Ponting, P. Mies, A. Robinson Subs: P. Moore, Clark, E. Visentin Coach – J. Austin Trainer – A. De Santi
However, a State Championship and Statewide Cup double was rare in those days with only three other clubs managing the feat as we faced Rapid Wrest Point for the State Championship.
The first leg at South Hobart once again proved our undoing losing 3-2. The second leg at Brooks was a see-sawing affair with Hans Streit giving us the lead until a Tommy Strickland hand on the goal line conceded a penalty which was converted.
Hemsley and Streit put us ahead on aggregate however Rapid got one back to tie it up and send it to extra time. Neither side could trouble the scoresheet in extra time and it sent the tie to penalties which was a first for a State Final which used to be settled by a replay or even corners. On this occasion Rapid edged us out in the shootout to hand us our 10th loss in the State Championship final and have us continue our search next State Championship victory which has eluded us since 1963.
1977 was Devonport’s year to do the League and Ampol Cup double by defeating us in the final by 1 nil, while we finished third in the league 10 points behind champions Devonport and runner up Burnie Spartans.
The ‘true’ Statewide league was first introduced in 1978 and was announced to be an 8-team league that you had to apply for and accepted on criteria based off home ground, facilities, financial status, club supporter base and success of the club over the last 10 years (1968-1978).
The Tasmanian Soccer Federation initially rejected our submission for entry and the club appealed the decision on the back of some hard work from Peter Mies and volunteers to get our current home ground with a training ground and changeroom facilities up and running in Prospect adjacent to the Australian Italian Club on Westbury Road.
The appeal was successful and alongside our entry Rapid Wrest Point was also accepted making the new Radio Rentals Statewide League a 10-team competition.
The club found the going tough in the new competition winning 7 games out of 18 and finishing 6th place on the ladder, 10 points off league champions White Eagles.
1978 State League Squad: T. Garrett, B. Colla, T. Strickland, J. Butler, B. Hemsley, J. Hodge, C. Collins, A. Heap, Gibbons, Ponting, L. Hodge, S. Foden, Foran, V. Beal, S. Clark, P. Gimpl
The club faired a little better under Paul Throssel in 1979 finishing 5th in the league 9 points off winners Rapid. However, they would stop Rapid from completing the treble by defeating them in the Cadbury Cup after a 5-4 penalty shootout win in what proved to be our Captain and the late Tommy Strickland’s final state league match as he announced his retirement and was chaired off, under lights at KGV after playing over 400 matches for the club.
1980 - 1989 The Rebuild with Youth
With the State League into its third season the club would again find the going tough under the guidance of Ross Wesson and even with the signing of a man that would go onto influence Tasmanian Soccer for decades – Peter Savill.
The club would finish the 1980 State League season in 7th place out of 10 teams, finishing on 14 points (6 wins, 2 draws, 10 losses) and 19 behind the Ken Morton led Rapid Wrest Point.
In 1981 the side performed much better in the State League under Englishman Ken Worden. Peter Sawdon proved to be an astute signing making his mark instantly in taking out the golden boot for the league with 20 goals. Our biggest win for the season was a 12-1 win over Glenorchy Croatia, a State League record for highest scoring game until the Victory League was introduced in 2013.
The Sawdon and Paul Wormley strike partnership heroics weren’t quite enough to get us our maiden State League title falling short on goal difference to Caledonians after we were the only side to go throughout the season undefeated, but four draws cost us compared to Calendonians one.
1981 State League Team: J. Ludovici, J. Butler, T. Warmsley, E. Guest, G. Hilli, T. Garrett, I. Abley, D. Conlan, P. Sawdon, J. O’Donnell, K. Worden, P. Savill, B. Hemsley
With sponsorship being pulled from the Tasmanian State League in 1982, soccer in the state went back to regional competitions. The club would lead the Northern State League for much of the year but finished runners up and 3 points behind Devonport after a downturn in form towards the end of the season. The club would manage to win the Northern Reserves league over Devonport by 2 points.
1982 Northern State League Side: M. Burdon, B. Hemsley, C. Bowers, A. Heap, P. Sawdon, M. Wesson, A. Johnston, J. Butler, D. Joss, R. Iasiello, L. Hodge, P. Savill, K. Reynolds, V. Beale
1983 Women’s Squad: K. Robinson, A. Gregson, M. Murfett, K. Robinson, D. Evans, P. Bradley, M. Deane, S. Young, J. Stolp, S. Gibbs, A. Luciani
Some of our emerging players Warren Dent, Luigi Gugliotti and Matt Wesson represented the North against the South of the state, losing 1 goal to nil.
1984 would continue to be a rebuilding year with many of our young players finding their feet in the Northern State League. Our reserves would have a successful year and win their league title while losing 1 nil in the first ever State Reserves Championship playoff to University.
’84 was also the year our current junior club was established with coaches and parents from Summerdale Primary and West Launceston Primary Schools forming the Western Suburbs Junior Soccer Club, headed by founding President Rob Brewer. The newly formed club would play matches of a Saturday morning at primary schools around the Launceston area, which would remain the case until 1988 when all junior matches would be played out of Ogilvie Park, Invermay (where Bunnings North Launceston is situated currently).
In the newly named northern league being called the Honeychurch Premier League, our 1986 side began to climb the table and would finish third, four points behind winners Ulverstone. The men would finish the season on a high and win the northern Honeychurch Cup.
Coaches and support staff: L. Hodge, J. Burden, M. Pullen, R. De Santi
‘86 capped of a fine year by English import Colin Guest taking out the Statewide Rothman’s Gold Medal to be adjudged as the best and fairest in the state with 29 votes, 3 votes clear of his Andy Fraser from Launceston United. Roger Mies was our second highest poll getter with 19 votes and Steve Guest on 10 votes.
Our reserves would once again win their division, four point clear of Devonport.
Coached by Leighton Hodge in 1987 the club would take their first Steve Hudson Cup (Northern Pre-Season Cup) and go onto finish one spot higher on the ladder in the Honeychurch Premier League finishing runner up and two points behind Ulverstone who made it back to back Leagues titles. In the newly sponsored Bohemian Restaurant Statewide Cup we were to be knocked out by eventual winners Hobart White Eagles in the Semi-Finals.
Peter Savill would cap off a fine year, winning his first and confirming a Launceston Juventus player would go back to back years in the State Best & Fairest Award the Statewide Rothman’s Medal after Colin Guest won it the year previously.
Also, in 1987 the women first tasted success finishing top of the table and undefeated in their league campaign. The men would also end their season on a high going back to back Honeychurch Cup winners.
1987 Honeychurch Cup Winning Side: N. Scott, S. Guest, S. Dennis, D. Gardiner, J. Visentin, R. Mies, C. Guest, R. Manglone, P. Savill, L. Gugliotti, T. Pilkington, S. Kaitini
Coaching Staff: L. Hodge, J. Hunter
In 1988 the State League was reformed once more with the introduction of a win being worth three points for the first time. Ross Wesson took the reins of the senior men from Leighton Hodge. Ross’s side would end up finishing a credible third with 31 points on the State League ladder, however being 14 points behind the formidable White Eagles side and Olympia finishing second 6 points ahead of us.
The club would start the 1989 season on a high winning the Steve Hudson Cup under new Player/Coach Peter Savill and would go onto finish 4th in the State League on 32 points after 18 rounds with the powerful White Eagles side taking out the title yet again, 20 points ahead of us.
Peter Savill would mark his status as one of the most consistent and best players in the State adding the Vic Tuting Medal formerly named Rothman’s Medal to his ’87 feat.
1990 - 1999 Let there be light!
A new decade saw the alignment of Launceston Juventus and the Western Suburbs Junior Soccer Club to create a pathway for junior players in the Western Suburbs of Launceston wanting to further their playing career into their late teenage and adult years and the Juventus Junior Soccer Club was formed playing in the NTJSA (Northern Tasmania Junior Soccer Association) out of Ogilvie Park, Invermay
Peter Savill led the 1990 State League side composed with the likes of: Warren Dent, Drew McNeil, Peter Savill, Peter Davidson, Liam Monagle, Branco Barac, Paul Gimpl and John Visentin to finish one place higher on the ladder than in 1989 and finish a respectable third place, however still 17 points adrift of the all-conquering White Eagles side.
‘Sav’ would again lead the State League men to a Steve Hudson Cup crown and third-place finish in ’91, seven points behind White Eagles. Roger Mies finishing as the club’s top goal scorer in the league with 11 goals.
But silverware came in the form of the Under 17 Northern League and Statewide Cup, knocking out White Eagles in a semi-final that went to extra-time. A young 16-year-old Jason Clayton bobbed up with two goals with one goal three minutes before the end of regulation time to make it 3 all and send the match into extra-time.
In the State-wide Cup Final held at Birch Avenue we’d face Devonport to claim our third Cup. Jason Clayton once again playing a big part in scoring two goals and setting up a third for Roger Mies.
Luigi Gugliotti would go onto represent Tasmanian for a match against the Australian Olympic Team (Olyroos) at KGV.
In’92 under ‘Sav’ the State League side finished 5th while Devonport took out the honours. A highlight of the year was a 9 goal see-sawing match against White Eagles (2nd) in which Jason Clayton and Roger Mies once again showed their lethalness up front being involved in 4 of 5 goals in the 5-4 win.
Our State League Reserves would finish runners up to Hobart Juventus in the league and runners up in the U17 Northern Cup Final losing to Ulverstone 2-1.
The State League Reserves would go one better in ’93 and win the league title ahead of Croatia Glenorchy while the Seniors finished 5th but took out the preseason Steve Hudson Cup.
Roger Mies would represent Tasmania across 5 matches that included a match against Japanese J-League side Nagoya Grampus at North Hobart Oval in front of 2,400 spectators, ending in a 3-nil loss. While the other matches were against Victorian clubs’ South Melbourne and Heidelberg United.
A Tasmanian Reserve side would also be formed to play Nagoya Grampus Reserves and win 1 nil featuring Peter Saville, Luigi Gugliotti, John Visentin and David Craig.
The State League would trial a Summer League across 1993/1994 to put ‘bums on seats’ and fall in line with the schedule of the National Soccer League (NSL).
The season would end on a higher note with Anthony Valentine taking out the Vic Tutting Medal (State League Player of the Season), making it the fourth time a Launceston Juventus player to achieve the feat.
In the Summer State League of 1994/1995 which would be the last summer edition running from November to June, the club would benefit from Devonport withdrawing from the competition allowing for the key signings from their Championship side the previous year of Charlie McCaffrey, John ‘Snowy’ Compagne and Tom McGinn.
Silverware wasn’t forthcoming however as White Eagles ran away with the title with an 11-point margin over us in second place.
We’d manage to make the final of the State League play-off series only to lose 3 nil at the hands of White Eagles at KGV.
However, the year would be capped off as a success with the installation of the floodlighting on our main pitch, which would extend to some part of the bottom training grounds. Enabling us as the only ground in the Launceston area to host night matches for the next decade.
In 1996 the senior men’s side would take out the Steve Hudson Cup once more and return to a State League winter roster which heralded a change of coach with Peter Davidson replacing David Craig. The side even with the acquisitions of John Frost from England and David Hill from Queensland finished 5th in the league, narrowly missing out on a top four finish, while White Eagles would once again finish top of the league.
1997 the club received directive off then football governing body Soccer Australia headed by Chairman David Hill’s “MARKETING MEETS MULTICULTURALISM: DAVID HILL’S NATIONAL MERCHANDISING PLAN, 1996-97” that the game in Australia wouldn’t allow for ethnic based names (Juventus) to be under Soccer Australia’s jurisdiction.
The senior club decided on Launceston Zebras initially in 1997 but a year later (1998) would decide to change once more to Launceston City while the junior club would be renamed as Westside Devils Junior Soccer Club, to which the names stayed until 2018 when Launceston City & Westside Devils aligned names to be known as Launceston City Devils FC.
Under a new name ‘The Zebras’ the club would finish in 5th position in the State League, 18 points behind champions New Town Eagles (White Eagles).
The side would fair a little better and reach the State-wide Cup Final however but once again falling at the hands of New Town Eagles in the final losing 5 nil.
In 1998 the club would finish in the top three of all the leagues entered, finishing third in the men’s State League 10 points behind champions Devonport, runner up and one point behind New Town Eagles in the State Youth League and runner up and one point behind Ulverstone in the Northern Women’s League.
To close out the decade in 1999 the State League men had their chance at winning the elusive State League going into the final match of the season only needing to beat bottom of the table Clarence United away at Wentworth Park.
University had won their match a day earlier to be two points ahead with our match still to be played against Clarence. A dogged Clarence outfit made the going tough and put up a fight which in the end was enough for them to register their second win and our third loss of the season to hand University their maiden State League championship.
Jason Clayton would finish the year as our top goal scorer on 14 goals, one ahead of Roger Mies.
2000 - 2009
Currently Under Construction.
2010 - Present Day
Currently Under Construction.