From depths of despair Diggers dig in and win
GYMPIE Diggers, a team that was "scraping" for players at the start of the season, has conquered all before them this year to take the Fraser Coast League title south for the first time.
The minor premiers completed their stellar season with an historic a 3-0 victory over two-time defending champions United Warriors at Maryborough's Federation Park on Saturday night.
It might not have been a Maryborough or Hervey Bay team, but there was still a lot of appreciation towards the Gympie invaders, whose commitment and enthusiasm to the competition has been vital to building and strengthening senior football in Wide Bay.
Both the Warriors and Diggers took their time to warm up to the contest, but there were signs that neither were willing to give up any easy goals.
The Diggers failed to replicate their fast start of the preliminary final against Doon Villa, but mounting pressure on United's defence eventually paid off with Adam Cross finding an unmarked Lachlan Manthey in the box to tap in from close range in the 62nd minute.
The Warriors pressed hard for the equaliser that never came, as Cross banged home two goals in injury time to seal the deal for the Diggers.
Player of the match, Cross, said the Diggers had to overcome many challenges this season to realise their dreams of grand final glory.
They include travelling up the Bruce Hwy every second weekend and needing to rebuild from scratch after starting the year with just three returning players.
"We're over the moon," Cross said after the victory.
"It's good to win the premiership, but no one remembers that once the grand final comes so it's nice to take both.
"When you're scraping at Christmas time looking for players and come February finding out who had stayed out of those ones, it's a big effort from the club and to gel together like we've had to is a good effort."
The Warriors dictated most of the play after half-time and created a number of chances both on the counter-attack and more patient build-up work.
Their best chance fell to Shaun Mitchell, who had a clear shot from close range, but skewed it over the bar.
From that moment you knew it would not be the Warriors' night.
While the result didn't go their way, Warriors coach Peter Guest said his players could hold their heads high.
"It's been a battle, but I'm real proud of the boys to get to where we are from what we were at the start of the year and the way our results were going," he said.
Guest confirmed after the match he would not coach next season as he wants to spend more time with his family, but believed the Warriors were in good shape to go one step further next season.