THERE'S been plenty of tension in the air this afternoon as the finals of the Australian Junior Oztag Titles have been played at C.ex Coffs International Stadium.

While the tournament attracted 3,000 players to vie for national Oztag titles across the various age grous for players aged 9 to 17, the large crowds of family and friends has created plenty of noise with each try scored or desperate tag made.

Coffs Harbour has been the Oztag capital of Australia for many years now but tournament director Bill Harrigan admits he's marvelled this weekend at how good the junior talent is becoming.

"These kids they just get better and better every year. The skill level of them is just phenomenal," Harrigan said.

"Some of the passing and some of the athleticism that you see from these kids, I don't know where they get it from."

The former NRL referee who now devotes so much of his time toward the development of Oztag said he couldn't have wished for a better weekend for the kids to show their wares.

"The weather's been fantastic, not a drop of rain," he said.

"A bit of rain on the Thursday before we started and that probably just greened up everything for us.

"Again the venue has been immaculate. Working with the council up here has been terrific and again another succesful tournament."

While the players, coaches, officials and families can relax after a fast paced weekend, Harrigan is now getting ready for the next big tournament booked in to come to Coffs Harbour.

The Australian Senior Oztag Championships start on November 4 and Harrigan said that tournament is going to be bigger than ever.

"The Australian Championships seniors, which is on in three weeks time, we've increased by 40 teams over the last year," he said.

"Where they've come from I don't know but that's an amazing growth rate."



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