Top touch talent on show

AROUND 750 players and officials will hit Coffs Harbour for the national 18 years and under touch football championships which start tomorrow.

It is expected that around 1000 spectators will also converge on Coffs Harbour for the event, with families and friends travelling from around Australia.

The tournament brings the best up and coming talent that Australia has to offer and will be held at Coffs Harbour International Sports Stadium, the premier tournament location for Touch Football in Australia.

Games begin at 9am tomorrow and conclude with grand finals on Saturday at 2:30pm.

An opening ceremony will be held tomorrow from 11am and will feature Coffs Harbour Mayor Keith Rhoades, as well as touch enthusiasts and NRL representatives John Sutton and Joe Williams from the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

The opening ceremony will also double as a farewell for the 10 Australian open and senior sides that are traveling to Christchurch, New Zealand in October. It is the largest touring party (around 190 members) that Touch Football Australia has ever sent and they will be fare welled as part of the opening ceremony.

In 2004 it was Queensland Secondary Schools Touch (QSST) who grabbed both the mens 18's and womens 18's titles, although the competition is set to be strong once again.

In the women's division the NSW Combined High Schools (NSWCHS) will challenge QSST, as will regions such as South Queensland Border Districts, Central Queensland and the ACT.

In the men's division the tip is that the Southern NSW Suns, the Sydney Mets and South Queensland Border Districts could also upset the school team's dominance.

The local Northern Eagles men's side will also be one to watch, as they feature several players, including Australian representative Ricky Morris, who finished runner-up in the national championships under 20 division last March.

Tournament director Jon Pratt is again excited about the event and the heights it's reaching in Coffs Harbour.

"It just seems to be growing every year," Pratt said.

Each time we come here we receive more support from the community and find that more people are coming out to watch.

"People are also constantly commenting on the exciting atmosphere of the event, how great the competition is and the facilities are."

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