Author Archives: Steve Dettre

Harley Ullrich

Harley Ullrich turned up one night at the North Sydney Police Citizens Youth Club back in 1989.
Somehow, we had managed to convince the manager of the venue that table soccer would be a good mix for his club.
In amongst the various martial arts, the weightlifting, ballet and gymnastics, the Falconians Table Soccer Club was an odd inclusion.


But the bonus was that we had a big sign on the front of the building: Subbuteo table soccer – Monday nights.
And so, a 14-year-old Harley wandered in one night, curious about the game, curious to learn.
Another North Sydney Boys High student, like so many of the originals on the north side.
He became a regular at the Falconians and then when we moved to Stanmore and created the Concoria Club.
Always enthusiastic, despite a few drubbings (“I’ll never forget Gary beating me 17-0”) he was a club regular through to the mid 90s.
When things died down in the late 90s, we lost touch.


A couple of years ago, searching through facebook, I came upon Harley again.
August 20, 2015: Hey Harley, Are you the former Subbuteo player?
A month later, he got back: “Hey i didn’t see your message. Yes I am. How are you Steve? Been a long time since I played Subbuteo. Are you or anyone still ‘flicking’ around?”

And then he was back into it, playing in tournaments, and getting Giuseppe to paint up a couple of teams for him. He played in the AGP16, getting quite into the game, coming to Northern Falcons nights.


By this stage I already knew that he had beaten a tumour that had caused issues with his eyesight. His doctors had given him the all-clear, and he had already booked his tickets to travel with us to the Asian Cup in Singapore, June 2016, when he sent me a note.


“Hey Steve. I’m arriving 7pm Thursday 9th and leaving midnight Sunday 12th, hopefully. I’m having a scan tomorrow which will hopefully clear me to go. Something came up in my scan on Tuesday which my doctors are concerned about. Possibly a new tumour. If it’s confirmed then the trip is off and I start radiotherapy next week. If it’s ok then I’m good to go. Will let you know tomorrow.”
We messaged pretty constantly. We talked about football, the Socceroos and Subbuteo, his health and his treatment.
I knew things were getting tough for him.


He kept playing, taking part in the AGFA, the Spring League and coming to club nights. He always played things low key when people asked him.
“Pretty positive”, “past the worst of it” and “getting there” were his catchphrases.
Towards the end of 2016, despite his confidence, things got worse.
The cancer was affecting him more.

Harley, back row. Last tournament he played. AGP17

Harley, back row. Last tournament he played. AGP17

He had registered for the AGP17, then contacted me a week before the event to ask about times.
I told him that no one would have thought any less of him if he pulled out.
But he would have none of it.
“If I don’t turn up, then someone gets one less match, and I’m not disappointing anyone.”
Plus he wanted to come on the Friday night dinner draw.
He messaged me: “I’ll be there Saturday. Not sure how I’ll go but I’ll play. I’m more worried about the Friday night now. Pasta is probably the hardest thing for me to eat and I’m guessing that will be the main type of food as Fab is doing the catering. It’s crap because I love pasta! I’ll still be there. I’ll manage somehow.”


And manage he did.
He lost to Benny Ng 3-0, Rik Bland 2-0, then had a 3-3 draw with Tony Credentino.
He then told me he wasn’t feeling great, said farewell and quietly left.
His brother, Simon, told me they saw him on his way home, proudly sporting his Northern Falcons shirt. “We were all thinking, what a crazy shirt. But he was smiling, because he’d had a great day out.”
“It was the last time Harley went out unassisted,” said Simon.
We talked more on Messenger. Through his sister Zoe, I learned of the expense of his treatment regime.
So the table football community kicked in what we could.
And it seems it was not just the Aussies who helped, with donations from around the globe.
The treatment helped, though he was up and down.

Through February and March, the treatment helped, mainly with his attitude. We met up at his place.


He monitored the Subbuteo events from his bed. Wanted to play in Hermann’s Bratwurst Cup, and had vague plans of going to the Asian Cup in Tokyo. “I saw the scores and photos from last Friday and was quite jealous. I would love to have gotten involved. Same with the Japan trip. I’m getting better but that’s going to come way too soon. Next year maybe. As I said, I’m getting better it’s just not happening very fast. I’m in a good place mentally though. I’m 100% sure I’ll beat this. Thanks Steve.”



From talking with his sister, I knew it wasn’t going to be such an easy battle.
In April and May, we talked about the AGFA, Japan and his treatment.
He wished us luck in Japan. “Next time.”
On Sunday morning, 11 June, as I was preparing in the hotel to go to the venue for Day 2 of the Asian Cup, the text arrived, sent by Zoe, that Harley had passed away.
We lost a great friend and a passionate teammate.
Flick on!

By Steve

Ng takes Phoenix maiden event

Table Football finally arrived to Melbourne’s northern suburbs with the Northern Phoenix TFC hosting its inaugural WASPA on the evening of Friday, 02nd June. Six competitors took part in the event – a round robin competition – each player competing against one another in a five match league format. Ten minute halves were the order of the day as players representing four various TFC franchises jostled for the honour of taking home the inaugural Northern Phoenix title.
The first game of the evening had an extraordinary start as outsider Kevin Grant scored within the opening 60 seconds of the contest against Steve Dettre. A major upset was looming however it wasn’t long before Australia’s Subbuteo Godfather equalised, going on to win the contest 3-1 in a highly entertaining encounter. As the games unfolded, it became apparent that the race for the top prize would be a two horse contest between Steve Dettre and Benny Ng. Both competitors cancelled each other out in their Round Two head to head clash after battling out a 0-0 stalemate. It wasn’t until Round Four however that Ng took the outright lead in the competition after Dettre could only manage a draw against the competition’s host – Chris Garagounis. Ng kept his composure and went on to secure the inaugural Northern Phoenix Waspa after sealing a 2-0 victory against Kevin Grant in the final round of competition.
In other highlights, Simon Briffa continued his fine table football form by notching up a win and two admirable draws in a highly free flowing display on the evening. Paul Mercer also produced a similar output, showing why he remains one of Victoria’s top flickers with a very composed and calculated performance. It is an even more impressive achievement when one considers he hasn’t taken part in any competition for the past four months.
In summary, the 15 matches produced a total of 27 goals in what was a sure sign of how defences dominated proceedings during the course of the evening. More importantly, a fun night was had by all as the Northern Phoenix launched itself onto the Australian Table Football Scene.

Phoenizx 2

Phoenix 1

All quiet on the Asian front

The latest FISTF world rankings have been released, and there has been very little movement in the Asian rankings.
Peter Thomas (AUS), remains on top, ahead of Rudy Hesty (SGP) and Kenzo Koi (JPN), who moved ahead of Anas Rahamat (SGP).
Expect quite a few changes next month, when the Melbourne Satellite, the Singapore International Open, and the Japan Grand Prix/Asian Cup are included!!

FISTF Rankings May 2017 – ASIA

Kennedy Claims 40-Year Anniversary AGFA

The AGFA Cup holds a special place in the hearts of many Sydney Subbuteo players, as it was the first inter-club tournament played in Australia, way back in 1977. Members of the North Shore Association and the Northern Falcons came together in a one night tournament, with modified rules, to challenge for a now-famous piece of silverware.
Forty years later, two of the original protagonists joined 21 others for the latest edition of the Cup, with the first Junior AGFA as well.
There were 16 players in the Open category, and 7 in the Junior, including an impressive 4 female players.

Group photo... apologies to those who left early

Group photo… apologies to those who left early

Eliot Kennedy (Falcons) claimed his 3rd AGFA (previous were April 1986 and April 1999), beating an impressive Richard Wilson (Parramatta) 1-0 in the final.
The three former Cherrybrook Bulldogs players – Wilson, Nick Brill and Adrian Grunbach — all made the quarter finals, showing an impressive continuation of their form since returning from the Subbuteo wilderness after 20 years.


Meanwhile, young Oliver Ollnow finally claimed a final, beating Imojjen ELmer 1-0, after being pipped in the last three finals in which he appeared – including the Junior Parramatta event, Sydney WASPA and the Melbourne Satellite — ironically becoming the first German to win the AGFA (Anglo German Football Association) Cup!


In the first phase of the Open, Hermann Kruse pipped Falcons returnee Dominic Grenot 2-1, while Dave Sultana (Parramatta) beat out Kevin Grant (Western Flickers) 1-0, who made the Herculean trip from Melbourne — by road! Kevin also delivered a swag of his custom tables and boards along the way!! Eliot Kennedy stamped his authority on group 1 with a 3-1 win against John Palamara (Hipfingerz), while Richard Wilson looked set to qualify after a 2-0 win against Louis Dettre, also making his long awaited return to the board. Adrian Elmer (Parramatta) beat Neil Brener (Falcons) 2-0, and Nick Brill and Dom Grenot shared the points in a 2-2 result.


In the Juniors, Imojjen caused the upset of the whole day when she beat 2016 GP winner Jonty Brener 1-0, who then also qualified after he beat novice Angela Wooden 4-0. Chris Soldatos (Sydney TFC) squeezed into the semis with a better goal difference in his group, joining Oliver.


In the quarterfinals, Eliot dominated Dominic 3-0, while Nick overcame former clubmate Adrian Grunbach 2-0, and Adrian Elmer beat Steve Dettre 1-0. Richard Wilson had to rely on shots to overcome Dave Sultana (2-0) after a scoreless match.

In the semis, Eliot did enough to beat Adrian 1-0, while Richard continued his surge, beating Nick 2-0.
In the Juniors, Imojjen relied on shots to beat Chris 2-1, while Oliver beat his great rival Jonty 2-0.


A great day, and many thanks to the Good Games guys, especially Manager Sonny Keen Chong Lei, for providing us with the space and prizes.
We also raised more funds towards Harley Ullrich’s medical expenses, also in part thanks to Sonny allowing all the entry fee to go towards Harley’s fund.

Full results:
agfa cup xvii results

For more photos, go to:

World and Asian Rankings

The latest world and Asian rankings show some movement by Singapore and Japan players, while the Aussies were dormant during most of February and March.
Nonetheless,Peter Thomas retains his top spot in Asia, as past results reduce in value and players lose standing. A few Aussies suffered this fate, including Will Johncock and Adam Reynolds, and our Indonesian brothers.
There were quite a few new Singapore and Japan players.
Biggest mover on the rankings was Singapore’s Anas Rahamat (Jurong) whon rocketed into third place in Asia, while Japan’s Kenzo Koi (Yokohama) jumped into 4th place.
Antonio Carabillo (KHG Drangons) moved into the Top 10.
With a number of events across April and June, there should be some interesting times before the end of the season.
FISTF Rankings Mar 2017 – ASIA

Asian rankings: Thomas tops the list, Singapore still dominates.

Peter Thomas (Melbourne TFC) claimed Asia’s top position after his Australian Grand Prix victory, edging ahead of Singapore’s Rudy Hesty (Jurong Central), with Den Mulia (Singapore Lions) remaining in third position.
Eliot Kennedy (Northern Falcons) was the biggest mover in the top 10, moving from 15th to 4th place.
Singapore maintained its place at the top of the nations’ standings, with six players in the top 10, and 8 in the top 20.
Australia had 6 players in the top 20, Japan 5 and Hong Kong 1.
Players from six Asian countries were represented:
Singapore, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, Israel and Hong Kong.
Full rankings, comparing World and Asian, with movements compared to positions in December 2016:
FISTF Rankings Feb 2017 – ASIA

World and Australian rankings released

Australia’s Peter Thomas (MTFC) edged four places higher in the latest FISTF World rankings on the back of his AGP17 victory, while also maintaining his Australian #1 spot.
Eliot Kennedy (Nthn Falcons) moved into second place on the Australian rankings, while rocketing 78 places in the world to move to 75th place. He moved ahead of Carl Young (MTFC) and clubmate Robver Green, who slipped to 3rd and 6th places nationally. Carl kept his top 100 ranking, but Greenie slipped down to 166.
Biggest mover domestically was Brisbane’s Rik Bland who soared into the top 10 on the back of his quarter-final appearance at the AGP17.
There were eight new faces on the world ranking, with 48 Aussies in the list.
Biggest ‘bullet’ appearance was Nick Brill who leapt into 11th place after his comeback tournament.
Special mention for Hugh Best (Perth) who is 18th after making the barrage round of the AGP17.
The full rankings, both domestically and internationally, are listed below, with February and December ranks and movements.

Open Category:
FISTF Rankings Feb 2017 – Australia_Open

Other Categories

Statement from Steve Dettre

I am writing to inform all players that I have resigned as president of the ATFA, due to family reasons, but also work related.
However, I intend on keeping active in the game, playing with the Northern Falcons and attending as many events as I can, and providing advice to the board when asked.
As is only fitting, I have passed on the active organisation of the federation to our Vice President, Benji Batten, and the rest of the board.
It’s not a decision I made lightly, but it has nothing to do with the state of the game or the others on the board, and has everything to do with balancing family and available time.
I am proud of what we have all achieved in the last two years: the game has grown to 14 clubs in Australia, and we have more than 125 active players. That number is growing each week as the new clubs expand and players take part in tournaments.
We have developed deep relationships with other associations and players in our region, forged through Benji’s idea of an Asian Cup of Table Football.
For any players that don’t know Benji, he is the founder of the Melbourne Table Football Club and has been one of the game’s driving forces in its most recent revival. He has already served on the ATFA board as Secretary General, Vice-President and Treasurer whilst organising many of his club’s tournaments and a number of ATFA’s large tournaments, including the 2015 Asian Cup and the 2015 Melbourne International Open.
Benji has been appointed as acting president by the board until ATFA’s Annual General Meeting which will take place before the end of the financial year.
At this meeting, all positions on the board will be up for election. Details of this will be announced to all players in the next few months.
Benji’s first key task will be to take a lead role in organising the 2017 Australian Grand Prix which will take place on February 4th and 5th in Sydney.
I call upon all players to support the ATFA in organising and taking part in the event. Registrations will open very soon, and I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible at the event.
Steve Dettre

Asian Rankings (Updated)

A subset of the FISTF world rankings shows that Singapore is still the dominant force in the Asian region.
The Singapore lads hold nine of the top 20 places, followed by Australia and Japan with five apiece, and Hong Kong with one.
Rudy Hesty maintains his top place in Asia, followed by Peter Thomas, Den Mulia and Carl Young.
On the club front, Jurong Central have top spot in Asia, followed by Melbourne TFC, Northern Falcons TFC and Singapore Lions SC.
In the Veterans category, Rob Green (Northern Falcons) retains top spot in Asia, while Adam Deverell (Western Flickers) has joined him in the rankings, as well as two England-based players, Gerald Brightwell and John Devaney.
In the U19s, Singapore’s Giovanni Choong (Jurong) holds the top spot ahead of countryman Isaac Lim (Singapore Lions).
In the U15s, Northern Falcons’ Jonty Brener (Northern Falcons) is still ranked top, with Benjamin Ng (Western Flickers) in second place, and Gabriel Lombardi (Subbuteo Parramatta) in third.
And in the U12, Benjamin still holds the lead.

Plenty to battle for at the Asian Cup in Japan next June.

Current FISTF Asian rankings:

Current FISTF Asian rankings for Veterans, U19,U15 and U12: