New era as cup is lifted from the ruins

FOOTBALL

ACROPOLIS Cup honours will go to one of five regional teams as the competition is re-launched in Tamworth this weekend after it went missing for 30 years.

The cup and competition vanished in 1986 after Armidale took back-to-back victories, but will once again be contested at the Gipps St fields.

The 30kg giant trophy was found in a shed on the Central Coast last year so Northern Inland Football cleaned it up and brought the competition back to life.

After being donated by the owners of Gunnedah’s Acropolis Cafe in 1956 Tamworth has won it 13 out of 25 occasions and will be looking to once again put the trophy in the cabinet, if it fits.

The last time Tamworth won was in 1982.

In the first year of the new era Armidale, Gunnedah, Tablelands, and Kamilaroi will also vie for the mysterious cup.

NIF executive officer Dino Perizzolo is expecting to see some very competitive games.

“Looking at the team lists it should be quite even and some close games played,” Perizzolo said. A lot of attacking play should be seen as for and against will play a big part in winning the cup.

The two-day carnival will be played as a round robin with the winner decided on points with no finals played.

A win will net three points, while a scored draw will get two points and a scoreless draw one point.

Tamworth coach Tim Coates will go in with an attacking mindset after naming a strong side.

“I have got a quality squad of 16 players that should perform pretty well,” Coates said.

The side boasts the attacking prowess of Luke Purcell and Andrew James who will start up front.

They will be supported by Ben Davis, Tim Smith, Chris Fenton and others in attack, while big back Damien Puyenbroek will lead the defence.

The coach believes the competition will be fairly even, although hopes to go through undefeated and meet Armidale in the final match on Sunday afternoon.

Coates would love to take the cup home again after previously winning it in the 70s and early 80s for Tamworth.

This year the carnival has extended to incorporate a women’s and men’s U18s division as well. Tamworth and Armidale have been the only entrants in the first year and will clash on Sunday.

The U18s will play at 10am for the Browning Cup, with the girls going head-to-head at midday for the NIS Cup.

The Acropolis Cup will officially kick-off at midday on Saturday when Tamworth clash with Gunnedah.

Before the game at 11.30am the Northern Inland Premier League will officially be launched for 2014.

A presentation and ceremony will be held after McDonald’s has signed on as the naming rights sponsor for the next three years.

o Team names in sports details

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