Coffs Harbour hosts Northern Eagles Junior Championships

Preston Burbidge goes on the attack for the Coffs Harbour Hurricanes.

COFFS Coast’s best junior touch players have excelled against Northern NSW’s finest during the Northern Eagles Junior Championships at Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Park.

The Coffs Harbour Hurricanes hosted the event which attracted over 800 players.

Hurricanes vice-president Judith McNeill said Coffs Harbour teams exceeded expectations.

“It was awesome to see so many kids from all over Northern NSW compete for the title,” she said.

“With over 800 competitors from eleven clubs, it was a great opportunity for affiliates to showcase their Under 10s to
Under 18s representative teams.

“The event also serves as a selection tournament for the Northern NSW teams that will compete at the Junior Regional Championships in April.

“We were able to send six Coffs teams to compete this year and they all surpassed our expectations.

“With all of our teams making the finals series, we’re hopeful that several of our players will be selected to represent the Northern Eagles.”

McNeill particularly praised the performance of the Coffs Under 10s team.

“The Coffs Under 10s team were dominant in their division,” she said.

“They finished Day 1 at the top of their pool with two wins and one draw.

“Day 2 brought scorching 33-degree heat, but this could not slow down the Coffs boys with them winning their four remaining games, taking out the Grand Final against the Port Macquarie Makos 13-10.”

Coffs Under 10s coach Jackie Galvin, who had twin boys, Rocco and Blake, in the team, said the players were already looking forward to their next games.

“I’m so proud of the boys and they are already talking about their next big game,” she said.

With some of the boys playing in different teams for social Touch, it was important for the team to gel as a whole group, something Jackie emphasised in her coaching sessions with the team.

“Going into Round 1, we were just hoping they would find their rhythm and be competitive,” she said.

“So, when they won their first game 11-2, we were completely blown away and we knew it was going to be a special

Woolgoolga Touch also had great success at the event with their Girls 12s team, coached by Tania White and Libby Mangion, also winning their division.

“We couldn’t be prouder of the girls.” Tania said.

“For many of them, it was their first go at representative touch.

“They started the comp off slow with a loss to Ballina, but they continued to improve upon each game throughout the weekend, and by the time finals began they were playing at their best.”

The Girls 12s eventually went on to win their division in an exciting upset which saw them turn the tables on division favourites, Ballina Bull Sharks, winning the game, 3-0.

Both Coffs Harbour and Woolgoolga are relatively new affiliates to NRL Touch, and both clubs are buoyed by their recent success at the Northern Eagles Junior Championships.

“It’s just so encouraging to see so many kids from the Coffs Coast attending the tournament, improving their skills and having success,” Judith McNeill said.

“We can’t wait for next year, where we can continue to take on the more established clubs like Port Macquarie, who took out the honours of Affiliate of the Tournament.”


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