Biggest Oztag event yet about to hit Coffs Harbour
IT'S set to be the biggest Oztag event ever seen in Coffs Harbour.
The NSW Junior State Cup will see 315 teams vying for state titles and the sheer weight of numbers means that for the first time the matches will be played outside the C.ex Coffs International Stadium and Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Park precinct.
The number of fields usually used for these large Oztag tournaments which bring players, officials, referees and spectators is about 26. But the increase in teams playing when the championships begin on Friday means matches will now be played across the road at Geoff King Motors Park with an extra seven fields in use.
Players ranging in age from 9 to 17 will be in Coffs Harbour for the three-day event with approximately 5,000 players all-up taking the field.
Add to that the number of parents and family members who will also be in the region and suddenly the local population is expected to increase by almost 12,000 people this weekend.
Tournament director Bill Harrigan said the sheer weight of numbers is causing some parents to start complaining.
"We're running out of room,” Harrigan said.
"We've had people have to book accommodation for the weekend in places like Bellingen, Macksville and Grafton.
"Parents are complaining that they have to drive all the way to the Coffs Coast to play and then they're forced to drive an extra hour to and from Coffs Harbour so the juniors can play.
"Oztag is just growing at such a rapid rate.”
Proof of that growth can be seen locally.
Last year there were three Coffs Harbour teams who played in the State Cup but this weekend there'll be half a dozen Coffs Harbour teams taking on the big guns who've travelled from the Sydney metroplitan area.