Ballina scores 'elite touch'
BALLINA will host the New South Wales Junior Regionals touch football competition for the first time next year.
It will be only the third time that a northern NSW affiliate has been awarded the prestigious junior event in its 16-year history.
"We are very exited to have this level of elite touch being played in the Northern Rivers,” Ballina Touch Association president Allan Kirchen said.
"It will be great to be able to showcase the sport to our local touch community but also to the wider community, it will be fantastic for the area.”
The Junior Regionals brings together the best elite juniors from across the state's six regions to compete in both boys and girls divisions.
It is an important pathway for junior player representation into both state and national teams.
About 300 of the states best junior players, coaches and referees along with a number of supporters will migrate to the area for the two-day carnival.
NSW Touch Association general manager Dean Russell was pleased that Ballina had won the tender for the event.
"Ballina has proven to be a progressive association that has grown their junior team numbers by 40 teams over the last three years to be our largest junior affiliate outside the metropolitan area,” he said.
"It is really exciting that we are able to recognise the tireless work of the volunteers who have made this happen with the awarding of the Junior Regionals to them.
"The Northern Rivers touch football community have always been strong supporters of NSW Touch and it has been a while since we have been able to bring one of our premier events to the area.
"This shows that we appreciate the work being done across the whole region.”
The Junior Regionals will be played at Saunders Oval on April 22-23.