On Friday, December 7, the 2018 State Cup touch football championships will kick off for the 30th year in Port Macquarie.
This year’s event will feature 236 teams from as far as Murwillumbah and Ballina in the north, Dubbo, Parkes and Orange in the west and Wagga Wagga and Young in the south. It will also have an international flavour with both England and Japan fielding teams. England’s national Men’s and Women’s Open will both be participating with Japan’s Men’s and Mixed Development teams also heading to Port.
NSWTA general manager, Dean Russell, is delighted with the reach the event has developed in its 30 years at Port Macquarie.
“It certainly not something I think was even entertained when we first came back to Port in 1989. At that time everyone just wanted to turn up play some touch and watch the Parramatta Men’s team run around.
“Now to see what it has become not just on the NSWTA calendar but indeed the worlds touch footballing calendar is something all our partners in this event and we should be rightly proud of. Everyone from across Australia and the World wants to play in this event,” Russell said.
The Men’s premier division continues to be the most even and hardest to predict with nine teams having a legitimate chance of taking the title. Doylason Dragons have a chance at history in becoming the first open team to win the Country Championships, Vawdon Cup and State Cup in the calendar year. This opportunity alluded them in 2017, so they are looking to make amends in 2018.
In the Women’s division, Manly Warringah will be attempting to accomplish an amazing four years in succession of Vawdon Cup/State Cup doubles. However, they are likely to be challenged by Eastern Suburbs, Central Coast and proven State Cup performers, Canterbury Bankstown. Canterbury will be looking to hit back after a disappointing Preliminary Final loss during the Vawdon Cup.
Port Macquarie's Mixed Open team will be hoping to go a little better in the Mixed Division than previous campaigns; however, Eastern Suburbs remain the team to beat.
A number of ex NRL stars are also scheduled to grace the playing fields this year with the likes of Scott Prince (Murwillumbah), Nathan Fien and Jamie Soward (both for Wollongong) all lining up in the Men’s Seniors Division.
Joel Caine is lacing up the boots once more, this time for Cronulla in the Men’s 40s and the State Cup Stallwart, Cliff Lyons will once again be running around for his Manly club.