Bulls win GRAND FINAL!!
From Michael Warren at the Cairns POST - MONDAY 21st
THE Mareeba Bulls again demonstrated why they are regarded among the best club sides in Queensland completing one of the most stunning comebacks in FNQ Football history to beat a terribly unlucky Stratford 3-2 in the premier men’s grand final.
Trailing 2-0 after 82 minutes, Mareeba woke from their extended slumber scoring three goals in ten minutes to wrap up the most unlikely and incredible of victories.
The Bulls’ one goal win capped a stellar year for Alex Srhoj’s side, losing only once on the way to claiming both the premiership and grand final double.
“That’s a really superb win, we had our backs against the wall but we still found a way to win,” a delighted Bulls coach Alex Srhoj said after the game.
“We just needed a little but of luck there and then we just rode the emotion. These boys never give up.
“We spoke about that in the dressing room at halftime.
“I said to the boys ‘it doesn’t matter what happens we’ll find a way out’ and we did. Credit to them and congrats to Stratty too on a great season.”
Bulls captain Alex Plowman was equally delighted with the Harry Houdini escape act.
“That win typified our season,” he said.
“We’ve put in a lot of hard work and we really deserved this win.
“Tonight all that effort paid off. We were down and out there but we stuck to our guns and eventually got the win.”
While the Bulls continue to celebrate the spoils of a fairytale season, the Dolphins will be left to dissect and ponder just how they lost when in such a dominant position.
Stratford seemingly had one hand on the trophy late in the second half, with Mareeba finally getting on the scoreboard courtesy of a penalty goal to Anthony Mete in the 84th minute.
That goal waved the red rag in front of the Bulls as they proceeded to trample all over the Dolphins.
Two further goals in five minutes through David Ruiz and Mete’s second secured Mareeba’s unbelievable Rocky style comeback win.
The one goal loss, and the circumstances and manner in which they suffered the defeat, will haunt Stratford for some time to come with a number of Dolphins players guttered after the heart wrenching result.
“It’s just heartbreaking,” Dolphins player Matt Bowman said.
“The lads put everything in, I suppose it’s a game of 90 minutes, and you have to play until the final whistle,” he said.
“We really stuck to our game plan out there but unfortunately we just came up short.
“I just want to thank everyone at Stratford for a great year.”
Dolphins captain Shane Raso said a strong performance by his team was of little consolation.
“It’s pretty disappointing, we were so close to salvaging something from our season,” he said.
“We had one hand on the trophy and it was just ripped away from us.”
In a pulsating, end-to-end open contest Stratford started strongly, dangerous forward Joe Rusch scoring in just the 16th minute.
With their confidence up, and looking every bit the better side in the opening half Stratford went 2-0 up on 43 minutes courtesy of an own goal to Lenard Brischetto.
Stratford looked the better side for much of the second period.
However, Mareeba wouldn’t be denied, somehow conjuring their treble of goals, against the run of play, to again reaffirm why they remain the Kings of FNQ Football.
“There is a never say die attitude in this club and I’m just proud of us for hanging in there and finding a way back,” Bulls player David Ruiz said.
“It’s been one hell of a season.”
The Bulls next mission will be to defend the much coveted Crad Evans Shield against a Townsville opposition in early October.
Bulls 3 (Anthony Mete 2, David Ruiz) beat Stratford 2 (Joe Rusch, Lenard Brischetto, own goal)