Coffs Coast touch footballer to represent Australia

Relle Donovan will represent Australia at the Touch World Cup.

RELLE Donovan will proudly wear the green and gold while representing her country in England this month.

The Coffs Coast woman has been selected to represent Australia after being picked in the Women’s 40s national team for the 2024 FIT Touch World Cup, to be held in Nottingham, England from 15-21 July.

The local Gumbaynggirr woman will be part of Australia’s first-ever Women’s 40s national team.

Her Australian selection caps off a tremendous two years for Donovan, which included representing NSW in their winning State of Origin Women’s 40s team in 2022, and winning the NSW State Cup the same year with the Port Macquarie Women’s 40s team.

The Australian debutant reflected on some of her recent achievements.

“I played Women’s 40s for the Northern Eagles at National Touch League 2022.

“In May 2022, I along with 27 other ladies were invited to the NSW State of Origin camp to trial for the Women’s 40s team, this was held in Sydney.

“In June 2022 I was selected in the NSW State of Origin Women’s 40s team to play Queensland in August 2022 at Coffs Harbour International Stadium.

“This involved trips to Nelson Bay, Cronulla and Penrith for weekend training camps.

“I had to commit to my own personal training, making sure I was fit and strong as I was playing middle.

“We won our State of Origin Series against QLD 2-1.”

With the 2022 NSW Senior State Cup approaching, Coffs Harbour didn’t have enough players to enter the Women’s 40s division.

“I joined Port Makos Women’s 40s State cup team in 2022,” Donovan said.

“I travelled every Tuesday afternoon from Coffs Harbour down to Port Macquarie to qualify my five games to play in the State Cup.

“It was a massive commitment physically and financially from me and the family, getting home at 9pm, but the reward was we won the NSW Senior State Cup, Women’s 40’s division against Cronulla.”

In 2023, Donovan coached the Coffs Harbour Women’s 40s team in the NSW Senior State Cup.

“This was a really awesome experience giving back to my hometown,” she said.

“We played five games and lost one.”

Donovan, who has been playing touch football since she was twelve, played her first game at Coffs Harbour’s York Street Oval.

“When I was able to play in the senior grades, I started playing with my two uncles, Uncle Grope (Steve Hart) and Uncle Tex (Tony Morris), and my brother, Shaun.

“This is where I learnt how to play touch football.

“I developed skills under these guys, especially to be crazy competitive and work hard.

“I had cousins on my mum’s side that represented NSW and Australia, and I looked up to them as a young kid.

“Both Mum and Dad played touch football, the Hart and Jarrett family is very well-known in Coffs Harbour, Nambucca Valley, and Mid North Coast areas for sports.

“Growing up in a big family, there was always a touch game in the front yard or on the road.”


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