Gooch quits as Reef Raiders coach


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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The 2021 Port Douglas Reef Raiders. Image: Joanne Cowe
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After three years at the helm and achieving the goal of putting Port Douglas back on the rugby map, Reef Raiders coach Travis Gooch has decided it's time to hand over the reins.

But this is just one of many achievements for which he will be remembered. Of equal importance in turning round the club’s fortunes; in each year of his tenure, the Raiders were in contention for premiership honours.

Last year they won the Rainforestation Cup, this year they lost the final and in 2019 they made the playoffs. A more than credible record and whoever succeeds Gooch has a lot to work with.

“We, as a club had a goal three years ago to put Port Douglas back on the rugby union map and I am happy to walk away knowing we succeeded in reaching our goal,” said Gooch.

In reflecting on his time as coach, he said the three seasons all had their own challenges and learnings.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time coaching the Reef Raiders and I am proud of what the club has achieved on and off the field.

“The 2019 season was all about learning the ropes and building the foundation of the team with the end goal of playing finals rugby again. We managed to play finals but didn’t quite go as far as we would have liked.

“Last season we knew we had the calibre of players and depth to contest for the premiership. To make it reality and lift the cup at the end of the season was a very proud moment,” said Gooch.

Gooch said the 2021 season was a mixture of the two seasons before.

“We rebuilt during the start of the season before putting ourselves in a strong position for a chance of back-to-back titles. Although we fell short, it showed that Port Douglas can be a dominant force in FNQ Rugby for years to come.”

Gooch said he was motivated by the players turning up every week eager to better themselves and the team. This included a determination to achieve our goals and reach new heights within the club.

“With my partner and I welcoming a new addition into the world earlier this year, the time is right to spend more time with my family and cheer the Raiders on from the sidelines,” he said.

Gallery: Reef Raiders presentation. All images by Joanne Cowe

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