Tamworth’s emergence as an oztag force was highlighted at Coffs Harbour on the weekend with two of the Taipans sides making their respective Junior State Cup division finals.
Playing in Division 1, the under-17 girls went down to perennial heavyweights Parramatta 6-2 while the under-14 girls were edged out in their Division 2 final by the Sutherland Storm 2-1.
Their efforts headlined what was an outstanding performance from the seven Taipans teams.
“We had great results,” Tamworth Junior Oztag coordinator Katrina Davis said.
“The introduction of Division 2 was a bonus for the Tamworth teams enabling four (five including the 17s girls) of our teams to progress through to the finals on the Sunday.”
She said the teams that didn’t make the finals were “unlucky”.
The under-17s boys only missed out on a count-back.
“The 13s boys, they were a new age group. They did well to make the finals,” Davis said.
The under-13s girls also made it through to Sunday, their run ending in identical fashion to the boys’
Playing on adjacent fields both sides were level with their opposition only to concede a try after the hooter.
The 17s girls defeated Cronulla 2-1 in their semi before sticking it to the five-times defending champions.
Coach Steve Porter was understandably glowing in his appraisal, their effort all the more impressive for the fact that they were effectively playing up an age with the majority of the side eligible for the 16s.
“I was so impressed by the attitude of the girls. They’re goers,” he said.
He thought particularly defensively they were outstanding over the three days.
“Up until the last game we were the best defensive side,” Porter said, highlighting their ability to just keep going.
“Just effort on effort. That was the key word for the weekend.”
Beaten by Cronulla when they met during the round games, he said they benefitted from a lot more possession in the semi-final.
“The first game we had no possession,” he said.
He has been coaching the core of the side since the under-10s and remarked how much they have improved.
Davis also spoke about the improvement in skills across the board and how far, as an association, they have come.
They go away now and expect to win games. Similarly teams don’t come up against them and expect them to be easy beats.
The championships were split over two weekends this year with the 12-17-years teams playing on the weekend and the 9-11-years lacing up in Sydney on February 22-24.
The Taipans will be hoping to build off the weekend’s success, although Davis conceded that it will be a tough ask.