Dragons fire up to win
THE Lismore Dragons representative Futsal (indoor soccer) teams have clinched double grand final victories in the men’s and women’s Tursa Northern NSW Vikings Premier League.
Over summer both teams, comprising players from Byron Bay, Ballina and Lismore, have played 20 games at regional centres from Port Macquarie to the Tweed, culminating in the grand finals at Yamba.
The women’s team is a talented young development squad with an average age of only 16. They have been competing and winning together in junior tournaments all over Australia.
The Dragons clawed their way from third on the pointscore ladder through to second at the end of the preliminary rounds as their experience and confidence grew.
At Yamba, they defeated minor premiers Port Macquarie in the major semi-final then Coffs Harbour 3-2 in the grand final later in the day.
Women’s team: Ruby Edwards, Hannah Sheehan, Amy Fairfull, Elsa Mangan, Kirsty McCann, Danielle Creighton, Josie Bancroft, Shelby Parker. Coach: John Bancroft.The men’s representative team led the competition from the outset and finished a massive 14 points ahead of their closest rivals.
They have been wowing the crowds and dominating the opposition with exciting ball skills, speed and free-flowing play.
Captain and coach, Brazilian former professional Thiago Priori, has been inspirational.
The Dragons men had averaged a remarkable eight goals a game, but had a fight on their hands in the finals.
Defending champions Port Macquarie went into the major semi with all guns blazing, going goal-for-goal before the Dragons prevailed 7-6 for a place in the grand final.
Port Macquarie won through to have another crack at the Lismore team and led 3-1 at half-time. However, two quick goals put the fire back into the Dragons and then they never looked back, scoring another five to win 8-3.
Men’s team: Shannan Maclejewsk, Jessie McDonnell, Tim Knight, Thiago Priori, Nathan McCann, Trent Claydons, Nick Baker, Matt Baker, Damien Parker, Jordy Campbell, Ben Coulter. Manager: Rick Knight.