Desperate to re-ignite a fledging National Soccer League, the federation took a unorthodox approach of introducing new clubs into the league affiliated with AFL Clubs. The 1996/1997 Season saw the introduction of Collingwood Warriors whilst Carlton SC was scheduled to be introduced the following year.
Based out of Victoria Park, the original home of the AFL side Collingwood Magpies the Warriors also remained closely affiliated to former NSL giant Heidelberg. There strip was a mixture of the famous Collingwood black & white stripes with a streak of yellow to represent Heidelberg.
The idea never took off, with Collingwood Warriors finishing second last despite a strong start to the season, with the entity being removed from the league the following season and the club disbanded become ‘one-season wonders’.
The beginning was optimistic having prized highly rated Goalkeeper Frank Juric from reigning Champions Melbourne Knights, the Warriors boasted a squad consisting of Con Boutsianis, Goran Lozanovski, Ernie Tapai and Andy Vlahos.
Their inaugural NSL match drew just over 10 000 patrons into Victoria Park, with the hosts smashing holders Melbourne Knights 3-0. Con Boutsianis would score the first ever goal for the Warriors, with a second half brace to Taliadoros sealed the result.
Collingwood would go remain undefeated for the opening 7 fixtures, before enduring a run which saw them win just 1 of their next 10 fixtures which was of course against the Melbourne Knights again.
The short lived history of Collingwood Warriors and Carlton SC soon after, was the last time the two rival codes attempted to align.
|NSL 1996/97 Round 1
Played (13/10/1996) Victoria Park
Frank Juric, Dean Fak, George Jolevski, Alan Scott, Enrico Cerrachio, Carlo Talladira, Andrew Vlahos, Kimon Taliadoros, Ernie Tapai, Goran Lozanovski (Tom Karapatsos 73), Con Boutsianis (Brian MacNicol 73)
Goals : Boutsianis 5, Taliadoros 68, 72
Vilson Knezevic, David Cervinski, Zoran Markovski (sent off 66), Andrew Marth, Mark Silic, Lubomir Lapsansky (Ante Deak 75), John Markovski (Mijo Trupkovic 75), Ice Kutlesovski, Damian Vojtek, Tomislav Pondeljak, Ransford Banini