Orara to host magnificent sevens tournament

ORARA Valley Axemen's 2005 rugby league sevens competition will almost certainly have an international flavour, with the club fielding inquiries from around the globe.

Axemen president Kevin Elks said interest in the competition was building, with Pacific Island nations and America indicating their eagerness to compete for a slice of the $15,000 prizemoney pie.

"We have received emails from the American Rugby League, their National team, the Tomahawks, will be in Australia during that time and they are trying to alter their schedule to make the tournament," Elks said.

"We are pretty confident a Fijian side will be here and the Hibiscus Coast Raiders, from the New Zealand Barter Card Cup competition, are applying for a grant to fund their trip.

"The Maltese Rugby League Association of Australia has spoken to club officials regarding placing a side in the competition as well."

Elks said several Sydney clubs, including a Sydney Roosters outfit, have also expressed interest.

"Sydney Uni plus several clubs from the Parramatta, Balmain and Manly areas have indicated they will attend," he said.

"Roosters first grade coach Ricky Stuart has also been contacted by the club and he was interested in sending a lower grade side, but we will know more once things get back to normal at (the Roosters) club."

Elks said interest surrounding the competition is steadily growing.

"We originally anticipated 20 clubs, but thought we could go to 40," he said.

"Our web site has received about 300 hits in the last few weeks, so we are confident the event will be a success."

While a number of clubs have indicated they will be in attendance, Elks said they have been slow in filling in nomination forms and sending the $500 entry fees.

"We know a lot of the clubs are coming, but they probably won't send in forms until after their various AGM," he said.

The Orara Valley Axemen TOFOG and Inner Circle Rum sevens competition, thought to be the richest event of its type in regional Australia, will take place on January 22 and 23.

The contest, which has been underwritten by Axemen fan and sponsor Russell Crowe, will carry a total prize pool of $15,000.

First place will receive $10,000, with $3000 for second, $1500 for third and $500 for fourth.

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