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The Serbian club who broke the Dragons' premiership record

Ian Walsh - a mainstay during the Dragons 11-year premiership run. Photo via http://www.dragons.com.au/
Roar Guru
6th February, 2015
27
1094 Reads

Undoubtedly the most famous of all grand finalists, the St. George Dragons seared themselves into the imaginations of rugby league fans by winning a stunning 11 premierships in a row from 1956 to 1966.

In that time, the players wearing the iconic red V turned up the heat on their opposition like no other Australian sporting team.

Fans here continue to idolise the amazing sporting achievement of the Dragons. And rightly so. Since that time, no Australian top-tiered club has gone close to even contesting that many finals in a row, let alone winning them.

The closest were the Parramatta Eels who, competing in four grand finals in a row from 1981 to 84, managed to win the first three.

However, something incredible happened overseas in the little known world of Serbian rugby league. In 2014, Red Star Belgrade defeated the Dorćol Spiders 36-26 in the grand final of the Serbian Rugby League Championship to claim their maiden premiership.

Given that clubs win maiden premierships all the time, one could be forgiven for thinking ‘well done Red Star’ and then leave it at that. Until you realise that Red Star Belgrade had just ended the longest premiership winning run in rugby league history.

Dorćol, Serbia’s oldest rugby league club had just lost their first ever grand final – after winning the previous twelve.

Red Star have been a mainstay of the Serbian league for many years now but their first grand final appearance in 2010 saw them get absolutely smashed by the Spiders 50-0. They then missed out on the 2011 grand final before narrowly going down to the Spiders in 2012. They qualified again in 2013, but once more the bite of the Spiders proved too much.

Then the unthinkable happened. In 2014, the two rivals faced off once more in the decider and this time, this time glorious history was made. The Dorćol Spiders, the oldest and most prestigious of Serbia’s clubs, the most successful of clubs, the winner of 12 consecutive premierships, finally lost a grand final.

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What the future will bring for Red Star, no one can say. But when that full time siren sounded, there was no doubt that Red Star Belgrade were, for that single shining moment, rugby league’s greatest club.