A TOUGH draw awaits some of Gunnedah’s best touch football players as the Gunnedah Touch Association prepares to take two teams to this weekend’s NSW Touch State Cup.
Held in Port Macquarie, this years cup will attract more than 230 teams from around the state and the globe, all boasting quality players.
Gunnedah will enter an open mixed team and an over 30’s men’s team in the two day knockout tournament.
The squad of more than 20 players has spent been hard at work training for the event, under the watchful eye of coaches Paul Brady and Casey Hatch.
“By exposing our players to this level, we can learn and hopefully bring those lessons back to build on in years to come,” Brady said.
“This year’s squad can be the beginning of exciting developments for the association in the future, both for the benefit of our representative ranks but also our park competition.”
Brady applauded the players on their commitment in preparing for this weekend’s tournament.
“While all of the players have juggled work and school commitments, their commitment has been great,” he said.
“Both squads have been training twice a week on top of their weekly competition games, which shows tremendous commitment.
“As an association we have been sending teams to the cup off and on for many years, but I feel like this is the most dedicated we have been during a preparation.”
The mixed side will begin their campaign against one of several international entries, Japan.
Depending on their results they will be seeded into a new pool for Saturday’s qualifying rounds.
“I think it is really cool to have some international teams involved,” Brady said.
“It’s just a nice thing to be able to say that you played against some of the best touch players from not just around the state, but the world as well.”
Meanwhile, the men’s team will face a tough challenge, drawn into a pool which includes the Doyalson Dragons, Balmain Tigers, Easts Roosters and Newcastle City Knights over the two days.
As well as playing for the state cup, the locals will also have their chance to push their case for representative duties in the future.
“A number of players within the association have previously and continue to pursue achievements through the Touch Football Australia Representative Pathways,” Brady said.
“There’s certainly some talented players in our association and hopefully this tournament will help inspire them and others to pursue rep selection in the future.”