2018 NSW Junior State Cup set to finish in current format with a bang in Port Macquarie

All systems go: Port Macquarie-Hastings Council deputy mayor Lisa Intemann and NSW Touch Football Association general manager Dean Russell.
All systems go: Port Macquarie-Hastings Council deputy mayor Lisa Intemann and NSW Touch Football Association general manager Dean Russell.

AFTER 30 years, Port Macquarie will bid farewell to the NSW Junior State Cup in its current format this weekend.

With a northern and southern conference system set to come into play from 2019, a record number of teams from around the state will converge on Regional Stadium and the Tuffins Lane precinct one final time.

NSW Touch Football Association general manager Dean Russell admitted there would be a tinge of sadness, but there was a sense of excitement about what the future held for the sport.

“It’s a fantastic result that the finale of our current construct sets a record for the amount of teams coming with 358,” he said.

“It makes it the largest representative touch football event in the world.

“When you sit back and look at the event, we’re at breaking point now.

“Everyone knows how big it is and the logistical challenges we face with fitting 20,000 people into a township like this and how far they have to go to get accommodation.”

While the action will be hot on the field, organisers will also keep an eye on thermometers around the event precinct.

Russell said heat policies could be brought into play if the mercury reached 35 degrees or more.

“We have a heat policy and have had it for a number of years,” he said.

“It does give us a number of different protocols that we can put in place if the temps get too high.”

One option for organisers is to play two 12 minute halves with a one-minute halftime break.

“Kids being kids don’t necessarily look after themselves and hydrate properly,” he said.

“When you start to play in hot conditions, you have to hydrate so we’ll be putting some announcements out over the weekend.

“If we need to enact the heat policy we won’t hesitate to because at the end of the day it’s got to be the kids safety that comes first.”

Port Macquarie will remain the home of the northern conference for the junior event until 2021, while the senior State Cup will also remain in the Hastings until 2023.

“We’re here for a while yet,” Russell said.

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