Who Is Walter Pless?


A teacher by profession, but is now in his 38th year as a football writer. Has written for "Soccer Action" (Melbourne), "Australian Soccer Weekly" (Sydney) and "World Soccer" (London), as well as for several Tasmanian newspapers. Currently contributing to "Goal!Weekly" in Melbourne and the Australian magazine "Soccer International". Played for Croatia-Glenorchy, Caledonians, Metro, Rapid and University in Tasmania, as well as in the United States of America. Coached University, Metro and Croatia-Glenorchy.

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Photo:  George Lawler

George Lawler, former player, referee and football fan, passed away in Hobart last week aged 86.

He began his career with South Hobart, but when his family moved to Moonah, he joined Metro-Claremont and eventually became a Life Member of that club.

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Photo:  George Lawler (second from left, back row) in a Metro team

He was friends with prominent referee Basil Masters and, after retiring as a player, he became a referee.

Lawler was a mentor of many up-and-coming young referees, including Kim Barker.

Lawler often preferred a quick word to a player rather than using the whistle and he was known to say things such as: “I saw that! Keep your hands to yourself and play the ball and get on with it. Shut up and play football.”

He was sometimes used as a trouble shooter. The word is that a particular referee was once reluctant to referee a game at KGV Park because of the notoriety of the two teams involved.

The game was assigned to Lawler as he was considered the best referee to handle these two sides.

Apparently, while visiting the respective dressing rooms to check on equipment and attire, Lawler showed the yellow card to every player.

The game was problem free as everyone knew another card would result in a red card and expulsion.

Lawler was a regular at the Friday night double-headers at KGV Park as a spectator, and usually in the company of the late Mr Pace (Hobart Juventus) and Mr Huigsloot (Croatia-Glenorchy), the three committed supporters often sharing what they called ‘a special coffee’.

Lawler’s brother, Gavin, played for South Hobart and Rapid, while his eldest son, Terry, played for PO Saints.

A second son played for several under-age Tasmanian representative teams and for Croatia-Glenorchy and South Hobart.

Lawler’s daughter, Karen, played and coached at Metro, University, Juventus and Clarence, as well as some State representative sides.

Lawler’s youngest son, Michael, turned out for the Eastern Region representative side, Tasmanian representative teams, and Olympia.

His grandson, Adrian (known as Buddha), played for metro, Glenorchy Knights and Clarence, and is still active with Phoenix.

Daughter Karen recalls George refereeing one of her games.

“He was always so hard on me and would always pull me up first,” Karen said.

“He said to me he did not want to be accused of favouritism.

“I used to laugh at that as no-one could ever accuse him of having favourites when refereeing.”

Lawler once refereed at a junior international competition in New Zealand and said afterwards he had worked with and met some wonderful people.

As a Life Member of Metro, he would often attend their games in later life in the company of supporters such as Jim MacKinnon and Paul Rubenach.

He had a booming voice and could be heard from anywhere around the ground, often yelling: “You’re not hurt. Get up. Come on, Buddha, get on with it.”

His trademark was always a Scottish-style cap with a red ball on top and he could readily be spotted standing on the sidelines watching his children and grandchildren in action.

Lawler was involved with Tasmanian football in some form or another for approximately 71 years.

He was a stoic man with a presence, and his knowledge and experience of football in Tasmania will be missed.

George Lawler

Photo:  The late George Lawler


+2 #6 Anon 2018-10-01 02:30
I love that the yellow cards were pulled out in the dressing room. Some very forward thinking there.
I wonder if any of todays referees would be game enough to do the same.
I thought that this was Gold.
+12 #5 Roy Hasler 2018-09-30 10:28
Some of your finest work, Walter.

Your efforts to pay respect to the people who have recently passed, acknowledging their contribution, is a credit to you.
+7 #4 Dave Smith 2018-09-29 11:27
RIP George- many happy memories and arguements - respect
+6 #3 Brian 2018-09-29 06:55
George was also a good golfer and a life member of the Murraville G.C,
+8 #2 Hunty 2018-09-29 03:38
Fond memories of marking the near post on a brisk, Chigwell morning and seeing that distinctive Tam o' Shanter cap out of the corner of my eye. A great of the game in Tasmania Sympathies to the Lawler family.
+8 #1 AB 2018-09-28 23:36
RIP George
Always a kind word for me personally, even when I wasn't deserving of one. Respect.

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