Amanda Skwarko in action for NSW CHS in the national championships last year.
Amanda Skwarko in action for NSW CHS in the national championships last year.

U18 players keep in touch

AUSTRALIA'S best touch footballers descend on Australia's best Touch Football venue for another National 18 years and under championships next month.

Coffs Harbour is again the venue for the event involving more than 750 players, team officials, referees and tournament staff which begins on Wednesday, September 7 and finishes with the grand finals on Saturday, September 10.

Queensland Secondary Schools Touch (QSST) grabbed both the men's 18's and women's 18's titles in 2004, 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, Central Queensland and the ACT.

In the mens' division the tip is that the Southern NSW Suns and the local Northern NSW Eagles are just two other regions that could upset the school sides dominance.

Both the Suns and Eagles sides contain several players that competed in the Under 20's grand final between the two sides at the National Championships last March, signaling they will be extremely tough to beat at the Under 18 Championships next month.

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.

"The opening ceremony is certainly becoming an important aspect for us and the added bonus of our celebrity challenge match will also add another element to our final day of action."

The opening ceremony will be held at 11am on Wednesday, September 7 and include a welcome from Coffs Harbour Mayor Hon Keith Rhoades and possibly an appearance by NRL player Chris Flannery, subject to the Rooster's NRL finals campaign.

The ceremony will also double as a sendoff for the ten Australian open and senior sides travelling to New Zealand in October for the All Nations Championships.

The final day of competition will be highlighted by the celebrity challenge match at 1:50pm, which will include past and present Australian representatives, as well as special guests.

The women's and men's 18's grand finals will then be played at 2:30pm and 3:30pm.



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