2005 titles wide open

By RACHEL MOYLE

DAY one action at the National 18's Touch Football Championships has set up an extremely tight week of competition, with the local Northern Eagles side showing they're here to challenge for the title.

Traditionally dominated by the combined schools sides and with Queensland Secondary Schools Touch (QSST) defending champions in both divisions, the 2005 event is still proving one of the most open fields in the tournament's history.

The men's division in particular looks as though any one of six or seven sides could grab the title on their day, with the Sydney Mets, South Queensland Sharks, Southern NSW Suns and local favourites Northern NSW Eagles all expected to challenge the school sides for a finals berth.

The Northern Eagles started strongly, winning 10-3 against the ACT and the Southern Suns also recorded a 6-2 win over Brisbane City.

The Eagles and Suns both boast a number of players who represented their regions at the National Under 20 Championships earlier in the year, where the Suns defeated the Eagles in an extremely tight grand final.

The Sydney Mets and South Queensland Sharks typified this year's tournament as they fought it out for a 5-4 win to the Mets.

NSWCHS and QSST both showed they aren't about to let the regions end their dominance, with NSWCHS recording a first round 15-1 over the Sydney Scorpions and QSST holding back a spirited Northern Territory 12-2.

In the women's division NSW Combined High Schools (NSWCHS) and QSST both started well in the Womens division, with both teams full of Australian junior representatives and expected to be very tough to beat.

NSWCHS recording an 8-2 win in their first round match and ?? over Tasmania, while QSST warmed up with a 9-0 win over the Sydney Mets and a 14-0 win over the Crusaders (SA and Victoria).

NSW Combined Catholic Colleges (NSWCCC) and Western Australia also recorded good wins in their first round matches and showed they are keen to challenge the strength of NSWCHS and QSST, perhaps indicating an upset could be on the cards as the week progresses.

Round games continue until Saturday morning, when the semi finals and play offs begin.

The Celebrity Challenge and grand finals will start at 2pm on Saturday afternoon.



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