THE future is the focus for Port Macquarie Touch Football Association.
At least it will be for both the Port Mako men’s under 20s and women’s open teams this weekend.
They will be in action at the NSW State Cup, and both are jam-packed full of young talent and newcomers thriving to improve.
The men’s team features some very raw talent, with only three members unable to play under 18s next year – a big indicator of the young ages of the players.
Co-coached by Peter Vincent and David Stone, they are using the tournament as a development platform for the 16, 17 and 18 year olds.
That’s not to say they aren’t taking the State Cup seriously.
“I think we will be competitive and I believe we will get through to the championship round. We would be pleased if we made the quarter finals,” Vincent said.
“It’s an opportunity for these kids to get experience at an elite level.
“David and I believe it will redevelop our under 18s side for the NSW junior regional championships without under valuing the state cup tournament.”
The team is said to have some very talented players who have performed well enough to make representative sides – including two who have made the NSW U18s. Tommy Brennan was selected in the NSW Combined Catholic College team, and co-captain of the Makos 20s, Ezra Gibson, was selected in the development team.
A number of the team have played in the National Touch League for the Northern Eagles, and their leadership will support the younger players as they dive into clashes with much older and more experienced teams on the weekend.
We have a few fresh faces in the side and a basically, a lot of the team are playing touch footy for the first time.Duane Takiari
“The other players who have the potential can use this as a platform to propel forward,” Vincent said.
“We’re taking it seriously, but hoping it will be a great experience for our kids.”
The same kind of thing applies for the women’s open team, coached by Duane Takiari, with many of them coming from park football.
“We have a few fresh faces in the side and a basically, a lot of the team are playing touch footy for the first time,” he said. “We have no grandiose plans of winning the whole thing, but we feel we will be competitive. We’re using it as a platform for the team moving forward and we can’t wait to get out there on the weekend and see how the hard work has paid off.”
That hard work started two months ago as the team gathered to train twice a week.
Last year, they were ranked 37th in the State Cup. Thanks to some strong results, they’ve been boosted to 18th.
“The goal is to slowly creep down into the single digit figures,” Takiari said.
“We’ve been working hard. It’s been a progression and we want to be a force to be reckoned with a year or two.”