Raiders looking to emulate 2020 success

SPORT

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Reef Raiders captain Jack Murday with last year's premiership cup.
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It’s all systems go for reigning premiership champions, Port Douglas Reef Raiders, who start training this week in a bid to emulate their success in 2020.

The town’s rugby union club won the 2020 premiership after defeating Wanderers 29-24 in the A-Grade final at Barlow Park in Cairns, a win that matched their 2014 premiership.

Last year’s success displayed how the club overcame their time in the wilderness to be the top club in FNQ. 

And coach Travis Gooch, voted Best Coach for 2020, and now into his third season, has taken the club a long way to where it is now. He guided the team to an elimination final in 2019, only to lose 35-26 to Barron Trinity Bulls.  

Gooch is buoyed by the number of players he will get to choose from this season.

“We currently have around 20 players from last year’s squad committing to the new season, which is excellent numbers for this time of year.

“There are no restrictions or impact at this stage due to COVID-19, however, I am not expecting any new international players due to border restrictions. We will be relying on the bulk of last year’s squad backing up for numbers,” said Gooch.

The season starts on 10 April and the Grand Final is on 4 September.

The club will get a huge boost when it hosts all A-Grade games on 10 April to start the new season. There will be four matches.

The Raiders are committed to three pre-season tournaments: Lightening 15s: 13 and 20 March; and Hambo 10s: 27 March.

Gooch, who will be assisted by Stan Afeaki, said the club was delighted to welcome new sponsors: Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Mt Molloy Pub, Zinc, Angel Construction, Port Douglas Scaffolding, Sportspower, Mossman Meats and Containers for Change.

He said the club is looking for assistance with the bar and gate. If you are interested, contact Laura McHugh: portdouglasrugbygmailcom or 0405 047 501.


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