‘Team of the Year’: Behind team’s success story
FOOTBALL: For Stanthorpe United Redbacks, 2020 was the rollercoaster success story most sports teams can only dream of.
When Football Stanthorpe made the decision in June to cancel local competition, the new hybrid team launched into the Toowoomba Football League season for the first time.
Winning 10 out of 15 matches and overcoming injuries, coronavirus restrictions, and a relative lack of inexperience, the team clawed their way to a close second behind Willowburn.
Coach Brad Rub said it had been the year of surprises as he watched the team grow into its own.
“It was one of the hardest, if not the hardest year (for sports),” he said.
“I think when we first looked into the league, our biggest concern was going there and getting flogged every week, we didn’t know how we’d go.
“But we got off to a good start, had a couple of losses and then went onto an amazing wining streak that showed we deserved to be there.
“Our goal definitely shifted this year and just got higher and higher.”
In the ultimate confirmation of their success, the team was last week recognised as Football Queensland’s 2020 Senior Team of the Year.
Rub said he both shocked and surprised.
“It’s quite a prestigious award and I think to be looked at even is a privilege,” he said.
“To walk away with it is just a testament to what everyone involved accomplished this year.
“I’m very very proud of what the boys achieved.”
Players Aiden Halford and Hunter Murphy have even been offered a trial to play for Southwest Thunder in the National Premier League competition in 2021.
“We gave players the hope and pathway to get noticed and move up to the next level,” Rub said.
“That’s what you want to see as a coach. To see players grow and evolve and do your best to get the best out of them.”
While it was unknown what would happen to the team in 2021, Rub said this much was certain.
“At the end of the day, if coronavirus hadn’t have happened, we wouldn’t have done what we got to do,” he said.
“It was the best thing to come out of coronavirus.”