Flying with the Eagles
SIX teams that include Far North Coast players will take part in the NSW Junior Regional touch football tournament at Saunders Oval, Ballina, this weekend.
The premier touch tournament will bring 600 of New South Wales' best junior players, coaches and referees to the region with local representatives part of the Northern Eagles teams from Under-14s to Under-18s.
The Eagles cover a large area with Ballina junior Brooke Hofmeyer and Inverell's Kimberley O'Donnell in the Under-16 girls team.
"We have a pretty strong team this year so hopefully we go well,” Brooke said. "It creates a nice atmosphere having so many people here and we'll enjoy it.”
There are six regions from across the state competing with the Sydney Scorpions expected to be the team to beat in most age divisions.
There will be a coaching clinic at 7.30am today run by Australian players Sam Brisby, Jackson Mills, Sarah Peattie and Samantha Rogers before games start at 10am.
"It's going to be a really good weekend and it's great for Ballina to be hosting it,” Northern Eagles coach Scott Turner said.
"We (Eagles) cover from Forster to Tweed and out to Moree and Narrabri, which makes us the biggest division in the state.
"We've had a pretty small but dedicated group working on this since last November.
"It's been a big challenge over the past few weeks with the weather but the grounds are ready to go.
"We really have to thank the local council and everyone involved for the work they've done.
"There are tough teams in every division but I think everyone would agree that Sydney Scorpions are the benchmark.
"In saying that, you don't get any easy games at this level.”
Each team will play four games today and one tomorrow before the finals start.
The regionals follow on from the popular State Cup at Port Macquarie and are a pathway into state and national teams.
"These teams have been picked from how the kids performed at State Cup,” Turner said.
"The Under-18s are vying for selection in teams to compete at the National Youth Championships at Queensland in December.
"There will also be state merit sides for the Under-14s and Under-16s.”
Spectators are welcome both days with an 8am start tomorrow.
Finals are expected to be played from 11am.