Laura Spiranovic has entered rarified air at North Geelong, becoming the first person in Warriors’ history to win both an Australian and foreign top tier league title after helping ZNK Split clinch their maiden Croatian First Division championship. Split drew 3-3 with Osijek in a pulsating season finale to win the league by three points. The star forward was also part of Melbourne Victory’s 2013/14 W League championship winning team.
Spiranovic now stands alongside Warriors’ legends and club Hall of Famers Josip Skoko and Joey Didulica as the only former North Geelong players in the club’s 52 year existence to be a top tier championship winner overseas. Skoko won a Belgian title with Genk in 2002, whilst Didulica won Dutch titles with Ajax and AZ Alkmaar in 2002 and 2009 respectively as well as an Austrian title with Austria Wien in 2006.
Whilst proud to contribute to ZNK Split’s first ever title, Spiranovic was equally thrilled to represent the Geelong region.
“It’s all pretty exciting right now,” she said. “I definitely feel very proud of our small town, community and football success. I hope that many more have the opportunity to do the same.”
Spiranovic featured in 12 games for Split this season scoring 10 goals. Split had been runners up four times in the past five seasons but finally broke through last night to end Osijek’s incredible run of 12 straight titles.
Osijek led 3-1 at halftime but Split scored two goals in the final 20 minutes through Matea Bosnjak and Iva Bukac to clinch a draw which was enough for the title. Split and Osijek have clearly been the best two teams all season and the final game was worthy of the occasion
This was just Spiranovic’s first season with ZNK Split as she only signed on with the club back in January earlier this year!
Along with the championship win, ZNK Split have now qualified for the UEFA Women’s Champions League for 2019-20.
The significance of the triumph was not lost on Spiranovic, who’s footballing adventure saw her leave Australia and go to her motherland at the start of the year after seven seasons at Melbourne Victory.
“I feel extremely fortunate that my football journey had allowed me to be here with ZNK Split at this particular time,” she said.
“There are many positives that have come from this experience and I’m very happy to be a part of this special moment with this club.”
Spiranovic is also the younger sister of well known Socceroos and Perth Glory defender Matthew Spiranovic. It’s clear that football runs in the blood of this family!
Spiranovic started out at Elcho Park as an 11-year-old, going straight into senior football despite still being in primary school. She went on to play for South Melbourne in the Victorian State League before returning home to line up for Geelong Galaxy United in the inaugural NPLW season in 2016.
The 27-year-old is a highly respected footballer in the Geelong community and has been a driving force in the growth of female football in the region.
Geelong currently has 83 female only teams across the local league, state league and NPLW with around 25% of the region’s 4,000 plus registered footballers being of the fairer sex.
The Warriors now have five Mini Roos girl’s teams as well as two junior and two senior teams. With a total of 106 females currently playing for the club, it is a far cry from when Spiranovic first donned the red, blue and white back in 2003.
For now, Spiranovic can celebrate her own unique place in North Geelong Warrior’s folklore.
With Spiranovic’s success sure to draw headlines in Geelong, there is going to be a new generation of female footballers who are inspired to pursue their dreams and see where the world game can take them.
Written by Janakan Seemampillai, published by Tanner Coad.