TAMWORTH oztaggers are continuing to gain growing recognition, with six players making Australian and Australian Barbarians sides.
The sides were selected following the recent NSW Junior State Cup in Wollongong and will play each other in a one-day tournament on April 12.
Zarayn Knight will play for the Aussie 18s men for the second year in a row, while Abby Schmiedel will line up for the 18s women, Bronte Harris the 16s women, Taylor Holcombe the Barbarians 16s and Steph Fulwood and Megan Murphy the 18s Barbarians.
“It’s mainly a learning curve to get ready for the next time round,” Zarayn’s mum Zeta said.
The 16s sides were selected from the games at the State Cup.
The 18s trialled on the Sunday afternoon. For both the boys and the girls there were around 60-70 trialling for spots.
Knight had all five girls in her 17s side. They got to the quarter-finals in what was a pretty tough division.
“They carved it up,” Knight said. “They really gave it to them.”
She thought they played better than they did last year. Defence was a big part of that.
“This time they played constant defence,” she said.
That showed in their results. The most they had scored against them was three or four tries.
“The other coaches were coming up and saying how good we played,” Knight said.
“The Central Coast coach came up and said he couldn’t believe how good our defence was.”
She was delighted to have five of the girls called up for higher honours.
“We’re (Tamworth) only getting stronger,” she said.
“For me, to get five through I’m stoked.”
For Murphy, Holcombe and Walsh, it will be their first time representing higher than Tamworth.
Knight has been a regular in state and national sides, while Fulwood will, along with Knight, by then have played in the Oceania Cup, where they’ll be playing for Australian Indigenous sides.
Knight will play for the open men, Fulwood the U21s women and brother Sam the 17s boys.
The tournament will be held in New Zealand on March 27/28.
Schmiedel impressed at last year’s State Cup as well as making the NSW 16s side.
She said it was a goal to go a step further this year, even though she is bottom age.
Harris has been playing oztag for about three seasons and is also a talented touch player.