TAMWORTH will be strong in numbers and on talent at this weekend’s oztag Junior State Cup in Wollongong.
The local association will have its biggest ever representation with eight teams competing.
Last year it had five with the 16s boys, 14s boys and 11s girls joining the 13s and 17s girls and 10s, 11s and 13s boys.
It reflective of a growing player base with almost 1000 players signing up for the term 4 summer competition.
That base has also allowed for more age appropriate teams.
Last year a lot of the sides had a lot of younger players for their age group, Tamworth junior oztag convenor Katrina Davis said.
This year aside from the 10s most of the players in the other sides are that age group.
Davis is expecting the sides to match up pretty well.
“We’ll definitely be competitive,” she said.
There is hope too of a finals appearance or two and maybe even a title.
The 13s girls are rated one of Tamworth’s best chances. They’ll go in as one of the favourites in their division after an outstanding performance in the 12s last year.
“The majority of the team have been together and training lightly all year, keeping their fitness up,” Davis said.
She felt they were better-placed this year than they were last year.
“The 14s boys have had their team selected since October and have been training consistently with the same team,” she said.
“(And) The 17s girls, there’s a lot of talent there.”
Headlining that is Brodii Ingram. Last year she was captain of the Australian U16s side.
Abby Schmiedel also made the NSW side, as did three of the 12s – Tahlia Tiberi, Amber Shephard and Jaymee-Lee Averillo.
The 17s will be a very competitive division but the girls have been training non-stop for the past four months, and were semi-finalists last year.
Over 270 teams will be contesting the three day tournament, which gets underway tomorrow morning.
The championships will also this year double as a selection trial for the Australian 16s and 18s squads.
As an added incentive the winning team from the State Cup will represent NSW in the annual series against Queensland.
o The next Tamworth competition will start on February 19. A rego day will be held next Wednesday from 4-6pm. For the first time registration is also available online at www.tamworthjunioroztag.com.