OUR CHAMPS: The Gympie United Gladiators claim the 2019 Sunshine Coast under-15 division 2 title. (not in order) Noah Albion, Rohan Polley, Riley Stevens, Josh Rigby, Dhingi Malek, Cody-Jon Gardner, Kynan Reid, Jake Millard, Dylan Portugaller, Ethan Palmer, Josh Armstrong, Connor Hanlon-Williams and Seamus Nash.
OUR CHAMPS: The Gympie United Gladiators claim the 2019 Sunshine Coast under-15 division 2 title. (not in order) Noah Albion, Rohan Polley, Riley Stevens, Josh Rigby, Dhingi Malek, Cody-Jon Gardner, Kynan Reid, Jake Millard, Dylan Portugaller, Ethan Palmer, Josh Armstrong, Connor Hanlon-Williams and Seamus Nash. Letitia Hedges

Why Gladiators U15 title stood out for coach

FOOTBALL: The Gympie United Gladiators have claimed the 2019 Sunshine Coast under-15 division 2 title after a stellar comeback victory in extra time, defeating Flinders 2-1 on Saturday.

The Flinders goalkeeper defended strongly and with the side up 1-nil at half-time, the Gladiators dug deep in the second half with striker/midfielder Jake Millard kicking the side's first. Millard claimed his second goal in the second half of extra time to clinch the win.

Coach Luke Wheeler, who has been involved with football for about 10 years, said this victory stood out from the rest.

Gympie United Gladiators under-15s  defeat Flinders 2-1 to claim title.
Gympie United Gladiators under-15s defeat Flinders 2-1 to claim title. Letitia Hedges

"It was the best in my coaching career because this time it was just me coaching, not as a co-coach,” he said.

"We were the minor premiers and now the premiers for the first time since moving to the Sunshine Coast competition.”

One highlight from the game was when Wheeler changed the formation in the second half.

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"It completely changed the momentum of the game,” Wheeler said. "I brought more of the midfielders forward, so we had four strikers instead of two.

"I knew we could win and when we changed the formation we lifted and when Jake scored we lifted again and started creating chances.”

It was a strong team effort but there were a few players who stood out for Wheeler.

Gympie United Gladiators under-15s  defeat Flinders 2-1 to claim title. Striker/midfielder Jake Millard kicked two goals to get his side over the line.
Gympie United Gladiators under-15s defeat Flinders 2-1 to claim title. Striker/midfielder Jake Millard kicked two goals to get his side over the line. Letitia Hedges

"Well, Jake is a pocket rocket but also a workhorse,” he said.

"Noah Albion (midfielder) was winning all the ball in the air with his headers.

"Connor Hanlon-Williams (right wing) is a quick runner and whenever we needed the ball down the other end of the field, he would get it down there.”

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