THEY’RE too little for the State Youth League.
And they play in a non-competitive arena.
But the kids who represent the Northern Inland in the Northern NSW Under 11s Development League don’t know what “too little” and “non-competitive” mean.
Tamworth hosted the latest round of matches in the league at Gipps Street on Sunday and both the Northern Inland North and South teams put in just as much effort as the bigger kids who play every week in the State Youth League, which caters for under 12s and up.
The NIF North side, with players coming from Armidale and across the Northern Tablelands, lost its first game of the season against Mid North Coast Predators on Sunday, but still dominated the game.
The side from Port Macquarie won it 2-1.
“That’s our first loss,” NIF North coach Mark Gwynne said.
“We’ve had six wins, two draws and one loss now.
“We had a few chances in the first half, dominated even more than in the second.
“But that won’t hurt them.
“They’ve been going really well.”
Not that results matter in a non-competitive set-up.
It’s all about developing the skills so that the kids are ready for the State Youth League next season.
Northern Inland North also took on neighbours Northern Inland South on Sunday.
NIF South represents the north west area so it was on home soil in Tamworth on Sunday.
The league features the same teams as the SYL but instead of playing every week the U11s play gala days.
“We play about once a month,” Gwynne said.
“But we play two games a day so overall we play each side twice.
“We’ve just got one more after this.”
Both local sides only have one more round to play at Port Macquarie on September 9.
In a few weeks the under 11s will then get their chance to try out for next year’s Northern Inland U12 SYL teams.
NIF football manager Howard Stubbs says that all those involved in this year’s NIF U11s side and any other player who will be in the under 12s next year are welcome to try out at those trials.
They will be held at Sport UNE in Armidale in late September with an exact date to be announced soon.