Prince prepares for State Cup farewell

For love of the game: Two of Port Macquarie touch football's longest-serving stalwarts John Bell and Wayne Prince. Photo: Ivan Sajko

For love of the game: Two of Port Macquarie touch football's longest-serving stalwarts John Bell and Wayne Prince. Photo: Ivan Sajko

WAYNE Prince and the touch football State Cup are two items which have gone hand-in-hand over the years.

In a time spanning almost 40 years, it looks likely Prince’s 36th State Cup on Friday could well be his last.

The mind is willing, but the body has other ideas for the Port Macquarie Touch Football Association president.

He’ll run out for Port Macquarie in their mixed master’s team on Friday after playing the previous 35 tournaments in a row.

“I just really enjoy playing touch football,” he said.

“But the body is giving out and it’s probably time to give it away.”

If the 2016 instalment does prove to be his last, the president reflected on his first tournament.

“I think it was down in Taree back in those days where we had what was called a shootout competition,” he said.

“We had two players against one to see if the two could score.

“We won that first ever shootout competition in the state and that was our claim to fame at the time.”

Prince said one of the biggest changes in almost 40 years had been the continued improvement of the country or regional sides.

“We used to get smacked around by the Sydney sides back in the early days,” he said.

“But now the country sides have lifted their standard and in the early days we didn’t compete that well, but now the state cup standard is always good.”

Prince ran around with the men’s 50s last year and while that team won’t participate in 2016, the majority of them will under the banner of the mixed master’s.

“We’re looking okay; we don’t know what our opposition is like but we’re looking relatively solid,” he said.

“We’ve got quite a few of the 50s from last year have come back with the addition of a lot of girls we haven’t played with.

“In that respect we’re quite a new side and we’ve had a few training runs which should help.

“I enjoy playing mixed because it’s good to play with the girls and a little bit to some degree slower than the full-on men’s but you’ve still got to be good at what you do.”

He said Port Macquarie should be well-represented by their mixed open’s, women’s 30s and women’s 40s sides throughout the three-day carnival.

“We’ll see what happens with the mixed masters, but it’s really exciting this year,” Prince said.

“We’ve got men’s and women’s open’s sides which we haven’t had for about 10 years or more so they’re realistic about their chances.

“They’re not looking to take out the title or anything like that but it’s great to have Port Macquarie touch have so many teams and hopefully they go deeper into the competition than expected.”

How did Prince feel about the prospect of hanging the singlet up after this year?

“I still feel like I’m 18 when I’m running around, but I’ll just enjoy a bit more of the organising side of things these days,” he said.

“I’ll still hang around everybody.”

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