THERE aren't too many coaches afforded a fairytale finish to their careers. But Queanbeyan Whites third grade mentor Michael Dyer wrapped up his tenure with the club in what can only be described as storybook fashion last weekend.
Queanbeyan’s 44-8 demolition of Royals in last Saturday’s grand final marked the culmination of a brilliant season for the side that went undefeated en route to the club’s first ever third grade premiership.
It was also the final game in charge for Dyer, a club stalwart who has been involved with the Whites for more than 30 years.
“I guess it’s one of those things a lot of coaches strive for and I’ve been lucky enough to achieve,” Dyer said of his grand final send off. “I was pretty special all round really. I’ve been at the club in some capacity since 1978 and this was my last year of coaching so it was a really good note to go out on.”
After a regular season campaign that saw the side produce an unbeaten 13-game run, Queanbeyan was an unbackable favourite heading into last weekend’s decider.
The Whites conceded just 116 points during the regular season to boast the best defensive record of any side in any senior grade in the ACT Rugby competition.
Queanbeyan was also lethal in attack, collecting a four-try bonus point in 12 of its 13 games before demolishing arch-rivals the Tuggeranong Vikings 38-10 in the semi-finals.
“As a coach my biggest fear was doing the hard yards all year and then falling at the final hurdle, that would have been terrible,” Dyer said.
“Anyone who has listened to my half-time talks knows I can be pretty savage sometimes. We’ve been in that situation before where we let our guard down and got done and there was no way we were going to let it happen again.”
Queanbeyan had appeared set for a grand final appearance last year before being bundled out of the finals in a disappointing loss to Tuggeranong.
But with that defeat still clear in the memories of a host of senior players, the Whites were never in any danger of a repeat performance.
With veteran flyhalf and man of the match Mark Henjak steering the ship, Queanbeyan dominated the contest after Royals initially kicked clear with a penalty goal in the opening stages.
And the win had even greater meaning for Dyer whose son Ash also played a major role in the Whites success this season.
“Ash and I had a quiet beer at home [after the final] and then a less quiet beer at the [Whites club house],” Michael said. “To be able to coach your son to a grand final is something really special.”