TWO women’s teams from Gunnedah are ready to put their best foot forward in the NSW Touch Football Association State Cup at Port Macquarie from Friday to Sunday.
With Des Hatch and Emma Costello as coaches, a team of over 30s and a team of over 40s have trained each Sunday morning since September.
Some of the players have increased their training to two sessions per week.
Gunnedah’s over 30s are in pool B of the women’s seniors and will contest the Wallsend Wolves and Maitland Redbacks on Friday.
They will then take on the Cronulla Sharks and Nelson Bay Neptunes on a tough Saturday draw.
In pool B of the women’s masters, Gunnedah’s over 40s contest the Newcastle City Knights and Central Coast Dolphins on Friday, before taking on the Forster Tuncurry Tornadoes, Manly Sea Eagles and Wallsend Wolves on a big Saturday of action.
Sunday’s fixtures will be the finals in the competition which has 239 teams from 64 affiliates and 14 divisions.
The competition is up nine teams on last years in a good sign for the sport which has suffered locally and nationally from the recent boom in Oztag numbers.
With more than 10 years having passed since Gunnedah fielded teams in the annual State Cup, Peta Devine said it was a case of “trying to get rep touch (football) off the ground” in Gunnedah.
“A few of us wanted to have a crack at rep again,” Devine said.
A member of Gunnedah’s over 40s team, Devine said the venture was “a big unknown” from Gunnedah’s perspective.
“We’ll know on Sunday morning where we stand,” Devine said.
“We’ve played a bit of rep individually but not as a Gunnedah unit.”
Costello was of a similar mind.
“A lot of them haven’t had exposure to this type of competition.”
Costello, who will play in Gunnedah’s over 30s team, most recently played in the competition five years ago, having had stints with Gunnedah, Werris Creek and Quirindi in the State Cup over the years.
“It’s always a highlight when you play against Australian representatives as well as NSW and Queensland representative sides,” Costello said as she recalled past State Cup experiences.
With all the training that the Gunnedah players have done, Costello was hopeful that they would be competitive.
“They’re in good shape,” Costello said.
“Fast, fit and fabulous, and they’ve trained really well.”
Regardless of the results for the Gunnedah teams, Costello was confident that the players would be competitive and eager to go around again in the future.