WE'RE READY:Coach confident this will be the year for FNC
LIFESAVERS competing against big city rivals this weekend are confident they can make it into the top four winning spots.
Lifeguard Coordinator (Northern) for the Australian Lifeguard Service, Scott McCartney, will be heading down as competitor and head coach of a team of about 40.
They will represent the Far North Coast region.
Mr McCartney said the team showed they could live up to the challenge at last weekend's training day.
"We have one of the best teams out of all the branches," he said.
"It's good to see a little country branch go down there and match the bigger branches like Sydney and the Northern Beaches.
"Many of our athletes, when they get older, fo off to compete at the biggest arena in the sport which is the Nutrigrain series."
Mr McCartney has been involved in the Interbranch Championships since he was nine-years-old.
The former Coffs Harbour Boy moved up to the Far North Coast 10 years ago.
He said it wasn't only the skill level of each team member that impressed, but their admirable sportsmanship.
"They're all down there cheering each other on and supporting each other, how well we bond and support each other is great," he said.
Mr McCartney said the championship benefits for country athletes included opportunities to see how they compare to the best from bigger branches, while also getting the chance to impress state team selectors.
The event sees three male and female competitors across branches in the Under 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19 and Open age groups compete in ocean and beach events.
Having being crowned champions for the last two seasons, Sydney Northern Beaches will be out to defend their crown, which they have won two seasons in a row.
Surf Life Saving NSW sports manager, Rob Pidgeon, said this year's event will be keenly fought with all athletes at the top of their game.
"The Interbranch is always a tough event with every branch determined to do their best and score crucial points over their rivals," he said.
"It's always hard to predict a winner."
Last year the Far North Coast team made it to position five behind the Hunter (4), Central Coast (3), Sydney (2) and Northern Beaches (1) regions.
The Interbranch Championship is on this Saturday and Sunday at The Lakes on the Central Coast.