DREAM FINISH: Gympie United capture football's biggest prize
FOOTBALL: The Gympie United Gladiators under-15s completed a dream inaugural season as members of the Sunshine Coast Football league on Saturday afternoon, triumphing 3-1 over Woombye to capture premiership glory.
A tense semi-final loss to the top-placed Snakes two weeks ago saw the Gold City's rising stars enter the decider as underdogs. but a first half flurry gave Gympie the two-goal buffer they would not relinquish for the rest of the game.
Talented midfielder Ethan Dickenson netted a double - including a venomous free kick - to feature among the best players of the final, while centre back duo Flynn McDermott and Ryan Nelson played crucial roles in denying Woombye's strikers until the final whistle.
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They trailed their rivals on the league table for most of the season, but winning coach Phillip Dickenson said his boys were well-deserved champions.
"We've pretty much had it against them this season and we were able to hammer it home, I'm very proud of them,” Dickenson said.
"I think we were a lot more hungry on the day and we were hurt from the semi final, and we wanted to show them we were hurt.
"We were pretty dominant in the first half, we were passing very well and got into our routine, and our first goal came through a lucky deflection off one of their defenders.
"Within four or five minutes they equalised, but we just kept piling the pressure on. We were able to keep possession, keep our structure and keep the pressure on all game.”
Dickenson said the Gladiators were unlucky not to add more goals to their half-time lead, but he was "super stoked” with the result.
"How much more could you ask for? We came into the league asking for progress and we won the major premiership.
"I'm definitely looking to back these boys again next season, hopefully we can get the same team together and strengthen again.”
Football Gympie President Joel Albion said there was a bright future ahead for football in the region.
"They certainly went down (to the Sunshine Coast league) to have a game, but by the end they were the form team of the competition,” Albion said.
"They're a credit to themselves, and they represent Gympie really well.
"This shows we can compete, we were worried about going down there at the start of the season but we are more than capable of mixing it with the Coast teams.
"There are lots of great footballers coming through in Gympie.”