TAMWORTH sends three teams of junior water polo players to the Balmain 12 and Under Development Carnival next week.
You could say the three teams – a boys’ Under 12 side, girls’ under 12 and mixed under 12 sides – are trailblazers for a year where Tamworth will send its first ever junior teams to national titles.
Tamworth and District Water Polo Association publicity officer Gail Salter said the Balmain carnival, to be held at the Dawn Fraser Pool in Balmain, starts Monday.
“It’s been expanded to three days because it has so many teams entered,” Salter told The Leader.
“The boys and girls are very excited about playing in the harbour-side pool, and playing in a pool named after such a great Australian swimmer. She was also a pretty handy water polo player too. After training she’d jump back in have a game of water polo with the boys.”
She said Sean Hofman and Ross White were the overseeing head coaches .
“But we also have a few of our senior juniors going as trainee coaches too – Laarn White, Molly and Alicia Lyden and Samantha Moxon.
“We’ll also have trainee refs down there too – Stu Wheeler and Katie Salter.”
The Under 12 Balmain Development Carnival is run by Ann Maree and Ken Miranda.
“Ken used to play (rugby league) for Balmain but he’s also a national ref and he’ll be helping the young refs down there too.”
The three divisions will be played in round robin formats but clinics – shooting skills, defence etc – will also be held each day for the juniors.
“The Australian Wallabies (rugby union) physiotherapist will also be there and the NSW Under 20 State team will also be there doing some of the shooting and skills clinics,” she said.
“It’s such a dynamic little carnival.
“The improvement in the juniors from the first day to the third is enormous. It’s also a really good warm up for the top end age kids as they back up for Under 14 state titles on the Central Coast after that.
“We did host those titles the last three years but they are now at the Central Coast. Following on from that we’ve then got the Country District Championships at the end of February and after that the the State Under 18s in early March.
“At the end of the March we’ve got our Under 14 girls going to Brisbane for the National Under 14s and then after that our Under 18 girls go to Perth for their National Under 18s while the Under 18 boys go to Canberra for their nationals. Then we have the state Under 16s as well.
“This is the first time we’ve taken teams to national juniors. It’s a very exciting time for us.”