The Tamworth Taipans are ready to strike at this weekend’s junior oztag nationals at Coffs Harbour.
Six teams will test themselves against the best in the country at the annual championships, which get underway on Friday.
It is the most teams the local association has sent away to the tournament Tamworth Junior Oztag development officer coordinator Katrina Davis said, and comes after they fielded a record 17 teams at the State Cup back in February.
“It’s exciting to think that the depth of players is increasing so we are able to take more teams to Coffs and that there is more interest for players wanting to play at that level and develop their skills,” Davis said.
The six sides – girls’ 17-years, 15-years, 12-years and 11-years, and boys’ 17-years and 15-years have all been training hard in preparation, she said.
The 15-years girls are considered one of the best hopes after reaching the semi-finals at the State Cup.
“They’ve got the talent to perform well over there,” Davis said.
Around half of the side were part of the McCarthy Catholic College side that were triumphant in the Years 9/10 Division at the NSW Oztag Secondary Schools Champions of Champions in September.
Jada Taylor is meanwhile coming off a starring effort for the Central North under-15s rugby union side at the State 7s Championships, which saw her named in the under-17s state training squad.
Davis added that the “11 and 12 girls have been training consistently and are looking to improve from their results previously at State Cup”.
“The 17 boys and girls have been playing together for the last six years and this is their last chance to represent at the junior titles,” she said.
“It is tough, though, as all the other teams at Nationals are combined association regional teams, whereas we are stand alone.”
She is expecting boggy conditions for the first day with the area receiving over 200mls of rain but the forecast is pretty good for the weekend.