State Cup set for kickoff

MORE than 3000 players will join 260-plus referees and about 5000 visitors when the 2012 NSW State Cup kicks off in Port Macquarie today.

Dignitaries gathered at Port Macquarie Panthers for the launch of the 36th annual event yesterday, as players, officials and spectators converged on our town.

Twenty-three fields at Port Macquarie’s Regional Stadium and Tuffins Lane will be used, and the playing surface couldn’t be in better shape, our mayor Peter Besseling said.

Cr Besseling paid tribute to the council’s ground staff, who have worked tirelessly to get the fields ready for the tournament. He also passed on his best wishes to the players.

“Welcome and good luck to the competitors,” he said. “I hope you have a great weekend.”

The region turned on the best conditions for the tournament, Cr Besseling said.

“The weather couldn’t be better, nor could the fields,” he said.

A highlights video from last year’s open men’s final between Easts Roosters and Hornsby Lions was played.

Easts won that 7-6 in extra-time dropoffs, and will go into the 2012 event with a big chance. Penrith is the tournament favourite, after winning the Sydney grade competition, the Vawdon Cup.

Canterbury will carry the favourites tag in the open women’s division. That team has won the past five State Cups. Past bridesmaids Wollongong will also be a good chance.

As far as the Port Macquarie teams go, the open mixed outfit has a good chance in the higher divisions, while the men’s open team will also be stronger in the lower tiers. The men’s, womens and mixed open divisions teams will play off for positions on the first day, before being placed in different tiers – the cup, trophy, plate and shield. 

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