TAMWORTH Oztag will have extra reason to celebrate next year after being awarded the hosting rights for the 2015 State Cup.
It’s the icing on the cake, with the sport celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Tamworth has hosted the tournament three times before – back in 2001 and 2002 when the sport was still only in its relative infancy in Tamworth, and then in 2012.
It stepped in when rain made it unfeasible to play in Sydney.
None of those though drew the numbers expected next March, with organisers hoping to attract more than 130 teams.
That’s around 50 up on the previous tournaments.
Tamworth Oztag’s Pam Potts was delighted with the news.
“It gives us a good reason to celebrate,” she said.
She said it was a sign of how far the sport has come in Tamworth.
“When we first started we had 13 teams in the senior competition in winter.
“We’ve got about 110 now,” she said.
Plus over 100 in the junior competition.
Tamworth Regional Council Business Events Manager Gavin Flanagan said Tamworth was delighted to be hosting the tournament.
“This is a huge sporting event which will see over 3000 competitors and spectators converge on Tamworth for three days next year,” Flanagan said.
Former NRL referee Bill Harrigan was also at yesterday’s announcement. He’s Oztag Australia’s tournament director and said that Tamworth being awarded the tournament was great reward for the region.
“We were very impressed by the way that Tamworth ran the event and pulled it together in such a short time in 2012,” he said.
“We can’t wait to bring the full version of the State Cup to Tamworth in 2015.”
Harrigan also last night conducted a referees’ course for local referees.
“We try to get up here every 12 months for a clinic,” he said.
Last night’s clinic, rather than focusing on the rules and such, was more about making it easier for referees.
“It was more focused on communication and how to reduce the amount of angst coming from players and supporters,” Harrigan said.
The announcement comes hot on the heels of the Junior State Cup where the eight Tamworth sides acquitted themselves well, with the 13s and 17s girls both reaching the quarter- finals.