6 Gympie junior touch teams battle for supremacy
TOUCH: Six Gympie Touch teams will vie for the Small Affiliate Award at the annual Junior State Cup, which starts today.
Gympie has entered teams in under-12 boys and girls, under-14 boys and girls and under-16 boys and girls who will also play in the under-18s.
Gympie Touch under-14 girls coach Danny Wilton said this was the first time the club had not entered an under-18 side.
"Sometimes we take a few more (teams) because we have under-18s,” he said. "This year the 18s are busy with uni and everything else, so we don't actually have them. It's a shame because the younger ones like to watch them and interact with them.”
The battle will be on against Gladstone for the Affiliates Award.
"This is for regional affiliates like us and Gladstone,” he said. "Our goal is to win this award; it is a bit of a bonus to get one over Gladstone.”
Wilton said the high standard of competition gave players the chance to see how they compare.
"It is a difficult competition for our children because Brisbane bring three teams, Caboolture have two or three and Gold Coast bring two or three in most age groups,” he said. "They compete and they are getting better each year but it is difficult for them.
"We just competed at the Wide Bay champs. We had six teams go and four were in the grand final. To go from there and springboard into this is really important.”
The club coaches had been training hard in the lead-up.
"We train every week, apart from school holidays which translates to about 30 weeks a year preparing for this,” he said.
The club hopes the carnival will lead to more Gympie players being selected in Brisbane and Gold Coast sides.
"This is a good gauge every year to see how they are going,” he said.