Departing Crusader’s lament: ‘Mackay couldn’t see us play’
AS LATHAN Dunn prepares for his new football life at Redlands United, he still cannot shake the feeling this season was a missed opportunity for Magpies Crusaders.
The 23-year-old fullback was forced to look elsewhere for NPL Queensland minutes this season, after Magpies Crusaders were kicked from the restructured state league competition last month.
Dunn, who returned to his hometown via South Wests Queensland Thunder midway through last season, said the team had just started to realise its potential when coronavirus caused the competition to come to a halt.
“It’s really disappointing because, with Tom (Ballantyne) and the players, we all felt we were creating something big here,” Dunn said.
“The last couple of results against Moreton Bay and Brisbane City showed we’d really come a long way since the start of the season.
“For this to happen (being removed from the competition) made us feel like we’d done all that work for nothing. The city of Mackay wasn’t able to see how hard we had worked, for them.”
Dunn will be back in action at the end of the month for Redlands, when the NPL Queensland competition resumes.
He could not rule out returning to Mackay next year, when Magpies Crusaders re-enter the competition, but said the decision would be made “in the best interests” of his career.
“I know a lot of the boys are keen to come back next year. The players that moved to Mackay aren’t there for the money – they’re there to prove people wrong,” Dunn said.
“We had some unreal players. We had a great coach in Tom. It was just a matter of time of us gelling together and making it work.
“For us to then get kicked out, it was so disappointing.”
The Mackay native believes the Mackay Premier League will receive a major boost with a number of NPL-calibre players trickling back into the local league.
“There’s players who are staying in Mackay that are easily good enough to play for other NPL teams. But their families, girlfriends or jobs have kept them in town,” Dunn said.
“There are some proper quality players there and I think it’s brilliant they’re staying in Mackay.”