Gunnedah trio Jayden Bender, Noah Davis and Ash Garnham have helped the Northern Inland under-12s procure one of their best-ever finishes at the State Skill Acquisition Program (SAP) Championships for boys.
The three-day tournament was played over the long weekend at the newly-renovated C.ex International Stadium at Coffs Harbour, and also featured under-11 sides from across Northern NSW.
The Northern Inland under-12s finished second behind Mid North Coast, with four wins, a draw and two losses.
Bender was the sides top goal-scorer for the tournament with three, scoring in their first-up 2-nil win over the Emerging Jets, the equaliser in their 1-all draw with Macquarie and again in their 1-nil win over Hunter Valley on the final day.
They also scored 1-nil wins over North Coast and the eventual champions.
The latter game was recognised by the NNSWF technical group as a highlight of the day on Sunday with both sides showing extreme competitiveness and skill.
Boggabri's Liam Debraceny meanwhile played for the Northern Inland under-11s. They finished without a win but did have a 1-all draw with the title-wining Newcastle side. They also drew 1-all with Mid North Coast.
Speaking afterwards, NNSW Football technical advisor, Leo Bertos said it was vital for the development of their talented football players that they have the chance to compete at such events.
"The NNSWF technical group and I found it very interesting to see how players performed during the tournament while managing an added pressure that the usual SAP environment does not have," he said.