THE Muswellbrook Touch Association heads into this weekend’s new-look Junior State Cup in a positive frame of mind.
Due to the enormous recent growth in the sport, the tournament will be split into northern and southern conferences for the first time in 2019, with the finalists progressing to a NSW Final.
So, the local Mambas will venture to Port Macquarie’s Regional Stadium and Tuffins Lane this Friday, boasting six representative squads – under-10 boys, under-12 boys and girls, under-14 boys and girls, and under-16 girls.
“Everyone is looking forward to a fantastic three days of competition,” Muswellbrook Touch Association junior director Paul Benkovic said.
“A lot of kids will be participating for the first time, especially in the younger age groups.
“Maybe, next year, we’ll see them mature and really lift.
“The little under-10 boys go really well.
“And, I’m confident the under-12 boys and girls, plus the under-14 boys and girls, will certainly give their all.
“In fact, the under-12 boys have a very good team, stack full of potential.
“As for the under-16 girls, a top eight position is not out of the question.”
Benkovic said a strong showing on the Mid-North Coast would cap off a good season.
“We had five youngsters – Diesel Hagan (12 boys), Macey Cox (12 girls), Tyla Brown, Lara Hedley and Heidi Richards (16 girls) – named in squads for the Hunter Western Hornets,” he explained.
“The final selections for that are on March 2, at Wallsend, so the association wishes them all the best.”
NSW Touch Junior State Cup draw
Friday: v Ryde Eastwood Hawks, v Maitland Redbacks, v Manly Sea Eagles 1, v Beresfield Bandits
Saturday: v Ballina Bull Sharks 2, v Berkeley Vale Panthers, v Newcastle City Knights, v Macksville Falcons
Friday: v Carlingford Cyclones, v Armidale Bushrangers, v Maitland Redbacks, v Singleton Storm
Saturday: v Manly Sea Eagles 1, v Beresfield Bandits, v Newcastle City Knights 2, v Forster Tuncurry Tornadoes
Friday: v Macksville Falcons, v Manly Sea Eagles 1, v Carlingford Cyclones
Saturday: v Berkeley Vale Panthers, v Armidale Bushrangers, v Singleton Storm, v Taree Flames
Friday: v Northern Beaches Renegades, v Port Makos, v Doyalson Dragons 2, v Newcastle City Knights
Saturday: v Armidale Bushrangers, v Manly Sea Eagles 1, v Berkeley Vale Panthers
Friday: v Manly Sea Eagles 2, v Carlingford Cyclones, v Inverell Kestals
Saturday: v Berkeley Vale Panthers, v Nelson Bay Neptunes, v Ballina Bull Sharks
Friday: v Manly Sea Eagles 1, v Carlingford Cyclones, v Inverell Kestals, v Doyalson Dragons
Saturday: v Maitland Redbacks, v Wallsend Wolves, v Ballina Bull Sharks