Friday, 30 July 2010

Hobart Zebras (Australia)

Also known locally as Tilford Zebras, Hobart are one of the most successful teams ever to come from the island of Tasmania. They were founded in 1956 as Hobart Juventus, one of many teams around Australia made up of ex-pat Italians - and nearly every one of them named after the stripy team from Turin. Like many of them, (and more than a few on this list) they changed their name to The Zebras in 1997 when the Australian Football League brought in a law to stop the ethnically affiliated clubs that made up much of the lower leagues of Australian football. But despite that ban, Hobart still have close links to the local Italian community.

They currently play in the Southern Premier League - the highest level on Tasmania, and effectively the second tier of Australian football - although with it being a franchise-based operation they're never likely to invited to join the A-League. They've won the title a tasty ten times, and have been the state champions on a further nine occasions. 2007 was a diamond year for the Zebras, when they cleaned the local board, winning the State Premiership, Southern Championship and the sweetly named Summer Cup.

They play their home games at the tiny KGV ground on, Grove Road in the leafy Hobart suburb of Glenorchy. But back in the early days, when they used to have strong and lively rivalries with the local ethnically-based teams Olympia (Greece) and Croatia (erm Croatia), crowds of over 2000 used to cram into their tiny environs. It is said that their fulsome chants of 'Juve, Juve' could be heard in the neighbouring town of South Hobart.

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