Tweed’s tight-knit touch
NURSING the scars of battle in the form of bruises, bumps and three sets of crutches, Tweed River High's Year 9-10 touch football team has recently returned home triumphant after blitzing the competition in Sydney.
They are the New South Wales All Schools Touch champions after going undefeated in competition on June 12.
The icing on the cake came in the final when the girls beat Helensvale 3-2. The Gold Coast team was allowed to compete in the NSW championships along with Benowa, because they are so close to the border.
All good things take time and football is no different, the group reaping the rewards of keeping a long term playing group over three years.
Player of the final Tarryn Aiken said the group played as one unit and their passion for the game was a major factor in the team's success.
"We train on Sundays, play in a competition outside of school hours at Southport every week and have only really lost two players from the original playing group we started with a couple of years ago," she said.
Aiken, who injured her knee last week while playing rugby league for her school, has been selected in the New South Wales Schools team
Cohesion and commitment to playing as a team, not as an individual has been the key to success for the side that has two state titles to their name.
This is something coach Chris Waddle said had developed over time for the group of great mates.
"Defence is the key to winning touch games and the girls are extremely disciplined in this area and know how each other play which makes them really hard to beat," Waddle said.
More than 80 teams entered the championships at St Mary's school, many of which having far greater sporting reputations than the Tweed team.
"Beating the big name Sydney schools was a great feeling for the entire playing group but we always knew we could do it," he said.
Fellow player Ally Sharp said the group had their coaching staff to thank for the result but again sited their defence as the key to success.
"I think we only had 10 or so tries scored against us the entire pool stage (eight games) of the competition so combine that with our awesome coaching staff and you get a pretty good team," Sharp said.
The girls will travel to Bateau Bay on the central coast to compete in the National State championships in August.
Touch football began in Australia, in 1923 as a fun thing to do and as a training game for rugby league. It did not become an official sport until 1968.
Over 40 countries around the world play touch football in major competitions.
In 2012 in Australia there were approximately 400,000 registered players