Taree to host Northern Eagles touch football championships

NEARLY 100 teams are expected to converge on Taree next January to contest the biggest junior touch football carnival to be held in the Manning.

Taree Recreation Centre will be the venue for the Northern Eagles Championships on January 20/21. This will be a first for the Eagles region, that takes in associations from Forster-Tuncurry to the Queensland border and also the New England area.

Taree Touch president Graham Goodwin said there will be play in under 10s, 12s, 14s, 16s and 18 divisions for boys and girls teams.

“We usually conduct our gala day that weekend,’’ Mr Goodwin said.

“We’ll be inviting the associations that usually take part in the gala to come to the Eagles championships, even though they aren’t in the region.’’

A number of association’s from the Newcastle area regularly attend the Taree gala using the event as preparation for the Junior State Cup held at Port Macquarie in February. Mr Goodwin said these associations will be invited to take part in the Eagles championships.

“We had 46 teams here last January,’’ he said.

“If we get the support we expect we could double that next year.’’

Mr Goodwin said the event will be run in a similar manner to the Junior State Cup. This will be in contrast to the Taree gala, where there were no overall winners in the divisions. Northern Eagles will run the championship.

Matches will also be used as trials for Northern Eagles representative teams from under 14s to 18s to take part in State regional tournaments.

Mr Goodwin said Northern Eagles officials chose Taree because of the top class facilities available at Taree Recreation Centre for touch football.

“We’ve got plenty of fields here,’’ he said.

While it is expected the championships will be held annually Mr Goodwin understands it other centres will be given the opportunity to host the event.

“But it’s good they’ve decided to have it in Taree for the first time,’’ he said.

This will be the first major touch football tournament played at Taree since the State Cup was held at the recreation centre in 1986.

Joel Minihan sends out a pass playing for Taree under 18s in the Taree Touch representative gala day last January.

Joel Minihan sends out a pass playing for Taree under 18s in the Taree Touch representative gala day last January.