SOUTHERN Dragons are determined to be a competitive side in Southern Football League division 2 next season after winning the SFL division 3 premiership on Saturday.
The Dragons, who came into existence only in the 2007 season, began the finals in fourth place but gained form and confidence with each finals victory, ending in their 32-point grand final win over minor premier Mount Waverley.
Star midfielder Jason Yap was named best on ground in the win and has also claimed the Dragons’ best-and-fairest award.
Dragons president and co-founder Tri Thoi said his side had matured more quickly than he had ever dreamed of when Searn Ear, Peter Nguyen and he entered the fledgling club into the SFL.
“Our main objective was to get a competitive team on the field in division 3,” he said.
“It was certainly not in our short-term plans to be in division 2. We will be working hard over off-season to work out how we make that next step.”
Thoi said the Dragons had won the flag without paying a single player or even their coach, Tom Cochwill.
“It wasn’t until the siren went that the reality hit,” he said. “We have won the premiership in such a short time. It’s an amazing feeling.
“Most clubs pay all their senior players. At our club no one gets paid, not even the coach.
“We are all volunteers. It goes to show you can’t buy premierships.”
Thoi paid tribute to his leading players, who turned down ‘big money’ offers to move at the start of the year.
“Our best six to seven players were approached by other clubs.
“What it comes down to is they wanted to play in a premiership with their mates.”
Thoi said club officials would enjoy the premiership for a few days before beginning the task of preparing for division 2 football next season.
“If we can just get another 10 per cent out of all our players next year then I think we will be competitive in division 2.”
Dragons 4.3, 8.6, 11.9, 14.12 (96)</bscores
Mt Waverley 3.3, 6.6, 8.8, 9.10 (64)
Goals: Southern Dragons: P Rueda 3,
T Clappers, B Liu, H Vuong, S Sang 2,
B Chen, S Suon, M Stone. Mt Waverley: J Gough 3, J Wilkin 2, M Jeffries, C Jeffries, S Costantino, C Kirkup. Best: Southern Dragons: J Yap, P Chhiev,
B Liu, H Nguyen, T Clappers, P Rueda. Mt Waverley: J Attwood, S Costantino, C Jeffries, B Stacey, J Wilkin, C Filer