Orara?s sevens heaven
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
AFTER last years Sevens tournament was such an unqualified success, Orara Valley President Glen Soper believes that the 2006 version can only be bigger and better.
"It got a little bit daunting there for a while but it has settled down a bit now, once we got the word out there we just waited for the responses," he explained.
"We've got some late phone calls from people who are still wanting to put sides in now but we've had to cap it at 36 to try and keep it a little bit more workable.
"Obviously in the future we have the scope to go up to 42 teams and further but at this stage for our second tournament to go from 28 sides to 36 it's a pretty big thing."
With so much NRL talent on offer during the upcoming tournament including teams from South Sydney and the newly formed Gold Coast Titans, it's little wonder that the fast paced weekend has already become the richest sevens tournament in Australia.
And after having a taste of what to expect as an administrator last time, Soper knows that a year's experience under his belt has him and the hard working Orara Valley committee ready to put on a cracker of a show.
"Obviously the first tournament was a learning curve for everyone," he said.
"We learnt a lot this year, no actual mistakes were made but we've streamlined it, the council have been unbelievably helpful and they've been great stepping in as the event organisers.
"Obviously we're still the event owners but it takes a lot of pressure off our committee but having said that it's still a full on effort with not a lot of breathing space."
Already the Orara Valley players are jumping out of their skin to put on a strong showing on their home turf but Soper believes that all the clubs in the area should be getting excited about the big weekend.
"Guys like Bradley Hart they're all itching and all putting their hands up to play in the tournament as well as playing in the Coast and Valley side.
"So it makes a big difference to our guys but we'd like think that it's not so much just Orara, it's our tournament obviously but eventually we will look at broadening the spectrum a little bit if you like and getting the other clubs involved which we are doing this year in the way of raffles and organisation."
The tournament has also attracted up to eight international teams including defending champions Lebanon, Fiji and Japan.
Added to the entertainment will be exhibition matches involving NRL Old Boys as well as appearances by Men of League greats.
It all adds up to easily the greatest NRL show anyone can catch outside of a major city or regional centre.