Raiders rise to occasion to win premiership

RUGBY UNION

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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The Reef Raiders come home with a grand final win for the Douglas Shire.
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Port Douglas Reef Raiders captain Jack Murday summed it up best when he said the grand final win typified the raiders season: a strong defensive display with all the players working hard for each other.

This follows the Raiders winning the 2020 premiership after defeating Wanderers 29-24 in this A-Grade final at Barlow Park on Saturday. The Raiders led 19-12 at halftime.

The Raiders rugby union team can now lay claim to being the top side in FNQ and this win emulated their 2014 premiership. They proved that intense grit, hard work and commitment can lead a team to success.

The club had been in the wilderness for a period, but under coach Travis Gooch, now into his second year, he first guided the team to an elimination final last year. And this year, he can enjoy the icing on the cake.

The club also had a field day taking all the trophies on hand. They won the Premiers, Minor Premiers and Hambo 10s Champs.

The FNQ Rugby Player of the season award was shared by Jack Murday & Juan Dillon; Tomas Venter was the FNQ Rugby top points scorer; Travis Gooch was named FNQ Rugby Coach of the Year and Juan Dillon was awarded ‘best on ground’.

The Raiders have now played in three Grand Finals, winning all three with other premierships coming in 2008 and 2014.

Wanderers started well, holding the ball for many phases, eventually scoring in the corner. Raiders hit back with a try through the middle to William Brown. From there the game went back and forth on the scoreboard with Raiders clinging on for the win.

The Raiders victory was dominated by their solid defence and there were multiple try-saving tackles, especially by centre Esteban Correa.

The Raiders have now played in three Grand Finals, winning all three with other premierships coming in 2008 and 2014.

Wanderers started well, holding the ball for many phases, eventually scoring in the corner. Raiders hit back with a try through the middle to William Brown. From there the game went back and forth on the scoreboard with Raiders clinging on for the win.

The Raiders victory was dominated by their solid defence and there were multiple try-saving tackles, especially by centre Esteban Correa.

“Our defence was outstanding, Wanderers played very well but we managed to keep finding a way to hold them out. The boys worked for each other.

“We really dug deep at the end to hold on. The big vocal crowd got in behind us. The support we had was awesome,” said Raiders coach Travis Gooch.

“This premiership means everything to the players and the club. There has been a lot of hard work put in over the last few years to accomplish this. It’s been a team effort from everyone involved with the club.”

The match was halted after only five minutes when a Wanderers player dislocated his leg and had to be treated on the field and escorted to hospital via ambulance. This held up play for 30 minutes.

Raiders’ points came from tries by William Brown, Dylan Leahy, Trazane Cobb and Cole Watson. Tomas Venter added three conversions and a penalty.

GALLERY | Check out all the finals action below. Photos by Joanne Cowe.



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