Under-10 girls (Pool D)
A GRAND Final appearance in Taree two months ago has Port Macquarie under-10 girls coach Anna Gleeson confident.
While they were defeated in the Northern Eagles championship final, Gleeson said her side had come a long way and would be competitive.
“In the under-10s it’s a bit difficult to tell who will be good, but we’ve drawn Ballina first up who traditionally have strong senior teams,” she said.
Gleeson’s team will be “top age under-10s” which she believes will benefit them over the weekend.
“We have three girls with experience from last year,” she said.
“We have a quick team so that’s good and we’ve trained really hard and the girls have learnt individual roles.
“The most important thing with this age group is not to complicate things.”
Under-12 girls (Pool B)
PORT Macquarie under-12 girls coach Nicole Prince has many years of playing experience, but this year has been her first with clipboard in hand.
And so far she’s enjoyed passing on her knowledge to the team ahead of this weekend’s NSW Junior State Cup.
Prince is confident her side “should win a few games”.
“I’ve been playing touch for a while, but I’ve found the biggest challenge for me this year has been trying to put what I know into layman’s terms and things the girls will understand,” she said.
A challenging pool awaits Port Macquarie alongside teams from the Lower Blue Mountains, Sydney’s Northern Beaches and Forster.
But some of her more experienced players such as Olivia Boys, Emily Prince, Tallara Duck, Ava Glassie, Sophia Hemsley and Charlee Bailey will lead the way.
“We have a few players that have been picked in school state sides, but it’s been a learning curve for me,” she said.
Prince has set a top three finish as a goal for her side.
“I’d be happy with a few wins and an appearance on Sunday, because it’s going to be a tough, hot weekend.”
Under-14 girls (Pool A)
WHAT Port Macquarie under-14 girls lack in experience they’ll make up for in enthusiasm at this weekend’s NSW Junior State Cup.
While coach Tracy Wilcox will focus on fun and enjoyment she will hope her side can sneak through to the final 16.
Only five members of the team in Sophie Evans, Isabelle Ryan, Brielle Wilcox, Jasmyn Hunter and Brooke Meyers have state cup experience.
Wilcox still thinks they’ll “do okay”.
“We’ve been drawn in the same pool as a couple of the country teams such as Yamba which is always good,” she said.
Unfortunately the local girls have been drawn in the same group as Manly, but they will enjoy a match against Central Coast on the stadium field at 12.30 on Friday.
“That will be awesome for the girls,” Wilcox said.
“It will be a good experience for them so if we can be there on the Sunday I’ll be very happy.”
Under-16 girls (Pool B)
PORT Macquarie under-16 girls coach Cath Eichmann knows her side has the potential to be very good.
They head into the 2018 NSW Junior State Cup confident of not only getting out of the group stages, but also progressing into finals day on Sunday.
While Eichmann knows it won’t be easy, the girls preparation has been as good as it could be.
Most of the team tasted success with St Joseph’s Regional College at All-Schools level late last year, before they then backed it up with national success.
“They’re not feeling the pressure because they’ve played most of the last five years together,” Eichmann said.
“They’re playing some really good touch football at the moment.”
After qualifying for at least the quarter-finals at the state cup for the last couple of years, the bar has been set even higher this year.
“We have set a team goal of making the final this year,” the coach said.
“We’ve made at least the quarter-finals for the last couple of years so we thought it was time the girls needed to set the bar a bit higher.”
Port Macquarie have been drawn in a favourable pool which could see them avoid competition favourites Manly until the final.
“Wagga Wagga and Nelson Bay are our arch rivals, but we know it’s been a very long time since a Manly under-16 team have been beaten in a game of touch football,” Eichmann said.
“If we manage to win our group we avoid Manly in the cross-over matches and won’t have to play them until the final.”
Port Macquarie’s toughest challenge will be late on Friday afternoon when they clash with Wagga Wagga.
“They’ve got the bye first up so it’s going to be a tough game for the girls, but it could determine who finishes on top of the ladder,” Eichmann said.
New South Wales Combined Catholic Colleges representatives Allie Wood, Sarah Stewart and Petrea Spencer will provide the spark, while Leilani Grainger will provide the leadership.
“We certainly think it’s achievable to make the final, but our biggest challenge will be at the end of a very long, hot day one when we play Wagga Wagga,” Eichmann said.
Under-18 girls (Pool B)
IT is the great unknown for Port Macquarie under-18 girls coach Toni Gibson.
Most of the side have progressed from the under-16s last year and as a consequence are untried in the top division at the NSW Junior State Cup.
However, the coach remained confident of a strong showing from her side this weekend and didn’t want to rule anything out.
“It would be fantastic to make the quarter finals on the Sunday, but all the pools are going to be tough,” she said.
“Manly and Parramatta are always strong and we’ve managed to avoid them early in the competition.”
Gibson was looking for captain Shelby Grainger to lead the way for her young side.
“I hope they all play to their potential,” she said.