Douglas United Dragons secure third premiership in a row


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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The Douglas United Dragons Football club have won a hat-trick of premierships. All images: Katy Olsen.

It’s back to work for the Douglas United Football Club, who clinched their third successive premiership when they beat the Atherton Eagles 2-1 in extra-time in their FNQ Football Second Division Men's Final at Mareeba last Friday night.

This weekend they contest the Crad Evans Shield in a match-up against Estates from Townsville, winners of the NQ Division, which comprises teams from the Townsville area. They go into this encounter as defending champions after defeating Ross River last year.

“We’ve had lots of opportunities to enjoy our hat-trick of wins. We now have one final hurdle to overcome and if we can topple Estates, it will crown the perfect season.

“What has also been extremely encouraging is the significant support we have received from all the codes in the town. This is something we have really appreciated,” said player/coach Andrew Robinson.

The Dragons’ third premiership was the icing on the cake for what has been a remarkable year for the shire’s three codes: the Crocs won their fourth successive AFL championship; and the Mossman Port Douglas senior rugby league team were back-to-back winners in the Cairns District Rugby League grand final.

The win over Atherton was decided in extra-time in what Robinson describes as a close, hard-fought clash.

After a goalless first half, the Dragons struck first after the change when Juan Benitez scored in the eighth minute following an individual run. Atherton struck back 10 minutes later to equal matters and this is how it remained forcing the match into extra-time.

Faced with 30 more minutes of football – each extra-time half is 15 minutes – the Dragons seemed to have the legs and mobility. After stand-in captain Daniel Ferrero scored in the 10th minute of this period giving the Dragons a 2-1 cushion, the Port Douglas team dominated matters and were able to hold on to their lead.

“I was confident when we went into extra-time. We had a sound strategy which worked and we were able to run down the clock.

“We held on to possession which was key, and being the fitter team paid dividends,” said Robinson.

In regulation time both teams had their share of opportunities. Atherton’s goalkeeper was exceptional as the Dragons peppered him with numerous shots at goal. He made a handful of outstanding saves. The Dragons also hit the cross and side bars.

The Grand final day started with a major twist: a change in venue after a waterlogged Endeavour Park in Cairns was out of commission and the finals games had to be moved to Mareeba.

Check out the photos from the FNQ Football Grand Final here:

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