HISTORIC DAY: Gympie Cats life member Ray Warren and midfielder Lanze Magin unveil the 2018 Wide Bay premiership flag to supporters at their first home game of this season.
HISTORIC DAY: Gympie Cats life member Ray Warren and midfielder Lanze Magin unveil the 2018 Wide Bay premiership flag to supporters at their first home game of this season. Bec Singh

Wounded Cats' premiership party spoiled by 121-point belting

AUSSIE RULES: The Gympie Cats' homecoming party was spoiled with a blowout loss at the hands of a formidable Wynnum Vikings outfit at Ray Warren Oval on Saturday.

On a momentous day for the club, on which they unfurled their 2018 AFL Wide Bay premiership flag, the undermanned Cats took the field without key players Scott Stiefler, Lanze Magin and Scott Ayres - and their absence was clearly felt. The Cats managed just one goal to trail by 30 points at the quarter time siren and the scoreline only got worse from there, finishing up 27.16 (178) to 9.3 (57).

Forward targets Patrick Harris (four goals) and Michael Gafa (three) put in valiant efforts, while co-captains Jack Cross (two goals) and Jesse Lawrence (best on ground) never gave up.

Coach Dave Carroll called the loss "disappointing” but vowed his side would not remain "down and out”.

"You never want to get beaten at home, let alone by 100 points.

"I've never been beaten by that much at my home ground in all my years of coaching,” Carroll said.

"My fear before the game was that we'd be undermanned through the midfield, and that came to fruition. We probably had six or seven mature footballers on the sidelines against a side who are mature across the board in mind and body.

"We have to make sure we're mentally prepared for every contest, and bring that effort and desire. It was an unGympie-like performance.”

Carroll said the Cats would have a prime opportunity to recover their depleted stocks and rebound against the last-placed Hinterland Blues on Saturday.

Speaking before the game, Cats life member and club legend Ray Warren was happy to reflect on an "absolute ripper” 2018 season.

"I think it is the best year I have had in Gympie,” Warren said. "Not only for the naming of the ground, the boys turning up and just playing excellent football.”

Premiership captain Lanze Magin said capturing the flag was "a special feeling”.

"Obviously not many clubs do win premierships and from a merged club (with Pomona) in the competition and winning it, it is a good feeling,” Magin said.

"It is the next best feeling after playing but it is exactly the same feeling supporters must feel. When we won, they feel like they have won the flag.”