Mareeba Gladiators will celebrate individual and club achievements at their presentation night, as well as the 20th year reunion of 1999 A grade premiership team on Friday, September 20 upstairs at Davies Park clubhouse.

Throughout 1999, the Mareeba A grade team finished the regular season with 12 wins and six losses.

It has been 20 years since the memorable 20 - 6 victory by the underdogs, Mareeba, over minor premiers and title favourites, Cairns Brothers, in the Cairns District Rugby League grand final at Barlow Park.

The winning team was made up of: Jason Barsley, David Grainer, Josh Stowers, Mark Fakahua, Chris Sheppard, Troy Cummings, Rodney Miller, Brett Crooks, Cameron McPherson, Jamie McIntosh, Andrew Wharton, Darren Blooranta, John Grainer, Liam McDermott (captain), Mark Trimble, Afton Collins and John Boslem. 

It seemed an upset could be on the cards when Gladiators fullback Jason Barsley's ran 95 metres and scored a try from the kick off.

Lee McDermott, father of Mareeba captain Liam McDermott, who played in the team's last premiership in 1992, was part of the green and gold army of Gladiators supporters cheering from the stands.

Mareeba's confidence blossomed and in the 33rd minute, Barsley crossed for his second try after some deft work by half back John Boslem, five-eighth Chris Sheppard and centre McDermott to put them out to a 12 - 0 lead.

After being awarded a penalty, Cairns Brothers posted their only try for the match just before half time and John Grainer slotted the extras right on the siren which had them trailing by eight.

Mareeba had a further grip on the game just two minutes into the second half when winger Brett Crooks found the line which extended their lead by 18 - 6.

Despite gallant efforts by Brad Arthur and lock Troy Cummings to gain some momentum for Cairns Brothers, the Mareeba forward pack proved they were up for the task.

The penalty count was very much one sided against Cairns Brothers by 11 - 3 and they lost two men when Shannon Van Balen and Mike O'Shane were dispatched to the sin bin by referee Tony Whybird in the second half.

On the day, Cairns Brothers captain-coach Arthur conceded Mareeba were just too good and wanted to win more than they did.  

Anyone that was involved In the 1999 season are welcome to come along and enjoy the night with past and present players. 

The young team of underdogs who proved the impossible was possible were coached by Terry Aquilina.

Aquilina who has been involved with Mareeba for many years recently stepped down as A grade coach.

Chris Sheppard who was part of 1999 A grade premiership winning team went on to captain Northern Pride team. Photo: Maria Girgenti
Chris Sheppard who was part of 1999 A grade premiership winning team went on to captain Northern Pride team. Photo: Maria Girgenti

Chris Sheppard who was born in Mareeba then went to on to play NRL for North Queensland Cowboys from 2001 - 2005; St George Illawarra from 2005 - 2006 and North Queensland Cowboys in 2008.

Chris Sheppard who was part of the 1999 Mareeba A grade premiership winning team captained Northern Pride to an Intrust Super Cup premiership in 2010 after they defeated Norths Devils by 30 - 20 in the grand final at Suncorp Stadium. Photo: Maria Girgenti
Chris Sheppard who was part of the 1999 Mareeba A grade premiership winning team captained Northern Pride to an Intrust Super Cup premiership in 2010 after they defeated Norths Devils by 30 - 20 in the grand final at Suncorp Stadium. Photo: Maria Girgenti

Sheppard was the foundation captain of Northern Pride and the first player to be signed to the team in 2007, where he was captain and operations manager for the first three seasons.

He led the Northern Pride to an Intrust Super Cup premiership in 2010 and was also awarded the Duncan Hall Medal for his man-of-the-match performance in his last game before retirement.

In 2011, Sheppard was appointed the Northern Pride CEO until his resignation in 2013.

Northern Pride captain Chris Sheppard with his partner and children after his final Northern Pride home game at Barlow Park in 2010 before his retirement after the season. Photo: Maria Girgenti
Northern Pride captain Chris Sheppard with his partner and children after his final Northern Pride home game at Barlow Park in 2010 before his retirement after the season. Photo: Maria Girgenti

The night starts at 6pm and everyone is encouraged to come along and be part of a great night of memories, entertainment and nostalgia in what was a very proud day for the Gladiators club.

Mareeba Gladiators Reserve grade team celebrate after winning the Cairns District Rugby League premiership in 2013. Photo: Maria Girgenti
Mareeba Gladiators Reserve grade team celebrate after winning the Cairns District Rugby League premiership in 2013. Photo: Maria Girgenti

Main image: Mareeba Gladiators A grade team who won the Cairns District Rugby League premiership in 1999 are having a reunion to celebrate 20 years since the historic win.