The two newest men to be caught in the Redbacks' web
FOOTBALL: Kurt Dolan and Liam Roberts' debut for the Gatton Redbacks premier team didn't have the fairytale ending they hoped for but the game had the makings of a strong season ahead.
The Redbacks had a promising start to the Friday night game, keeping scores to a 1-all draw at half-time against Willowburn Football Club at Gatton Dixon Oval.
But the result worsened to a 5-3 loss at full-time after the Gatton goalkeeper was sent off early in the second half.
While the score will be officially recorded as a loss, the end result felt like a win to 19-year-old Dolan.
After playing for Gatton Redbacks Football Club for 15 years, Dolan said debuting for the first team was a surreal experience.
"Everyone I play with now were all in the years above me and are people I admired,” Dolan said.
"I looked up to them and now I get to play on the same field as them.”
With many years watching on from the sideline, Dolan was ecstatic to finally play a part in the on-field team.
"It was really good,” he said.
"We started down and to fight back with no one dropping their heads is great, it's really rare a team don't drop their heads.”
Despite only having 10 men, the Gatton side scored two goals in the second half against Willowburn, who have been tipped as the team to beat in the Toowoomba Football League.
While the game was the first match for the season, it wasn't the first time Gatton had played Willowburn.
The two teams went head-to-head in a Football Federation Australia Cup match on Sunday, March 3, where the Redbacks suffered a 5-1 flogging.
Roberts said the Friday night 5-3 loss was proof of the side's potential to improve.
This year is not only Roberts' first year at the Redbacks but it's also his first year back after injury.
The centre midfielder had a knee reconstruction in 2015 and an operation to his meniscus in 2017.
But Roberts proved his potential, scoring Gatton's third goal for the match in front of the home crowd.
The goal was also Roberts' first for the Redbacks.
While Roberts said he was hesitant at coming back for another season, playing football was now a staple of his week.
"It's been a seamless transition at the club, they're all very welcoming,” Roberts said.
"I'd play every day of the week if I could.”
This year is the first taste of Redbacks culture for Roberts but for Dolan the feeling has been a constant for the majority of his life.
Dolan said the club felt like a second family and he couldn't imagine playing at any other club.
"It's part of me, everyone is like a brother,” Dolan said.
Gatton's first team next takes the field in the 2019 TFL this Sunday at 1pm on Gatton Dixon Oval.
Gatton Redbacks Championship men will also play at Gatton Dixon Oval on Saturday at 5pm.