2008 NTL kicks off

By BRAD GREENSHIELDS

BLUE skies welcomed players and spectators yesterday for day one of the 2008 X-Blades National Touch League (NTL) at Coffs Harbour's BCU International Stadium.

With Senior and Open Leagues now combined, a cracking bunch of rivalries had fans screaming for more.

Hunter Hornets caused the first upset of the day when they toppled dark horses of the Men's 40s division New Zealand Sharks, the first international team to compete in the Senior divisions of the tournament.

Sharks will provide a tough challenge for reigning Men's 40s champions the Sydney Scorpions, looking to claim a record fourth-straight title.

In another first-round surprise Victoria defeated top-ranked Sydney Rebels 3-2 in the Women's 27s age group before continuing their hot form with another 3-2 victory, this time over Sydney Scorpions to prove they are genuine chances to win the southern state's first NTL title.

Meanwhile, South Queensland Sharks Maroon have made a rampaging start to their tournament with strong wins over Northern Eagles (12-3) and Sydney Rebels (7-2) in the Senior Mixed category.

Sharks Maroon will have to maintain their lofty standard of play in order to keep abreast of the formidable Sharks Blue and Southx ern Suns line-ups, who will both be focused on a spot in the Friday's grand final.

The first games in the Open division will tap off at 8.10am this morning with the public invited.

For match draws and full scores visit Touch Football Australia's website www.austouch.com.au and follow the links.



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