TEN teams will represent Port Macquarie at the 2020 NSW Junior State Cup. Sports reporter Paul Jobber caught up with all the coaches and asked what they expected.
Player/s to watch: Gemirah Fernando and Tilly Sinclair are a great little pair to watch on the field. They work hard in defence and have some awesome attacking speed.
Biggest threat: Sydney teams like Manly are always tough to come up against but their biggest competition will be themselves. There's a bit of pressure on them as the 10 girls (now 12 girls) took out the northern conference last year.
Coach Jess Urpeth says: I'm so proud of my girls already. They have all worked hard at training and put the effort in and I can see a big improvement from trials to now. My girls will be there on finals day because I know they have the skills and determination to get there.
Player/s to watch: After they played in the Northern Region championships at Forster, no-one shone brighter than all the others. They all contributed well over the day and the team were lucky enough to go through undefeated.
Biggest threat: All the Sydney teams are obvious dangers with such strong competitions. Manly has had a lot of success over the years and won last year's northern conference so they again appear favourites.
Coach David Lacey says: They are all great kids with really good attitudes. Most importantly we have all had plenty of laughs and fun along the way, and we will continue to do that over the weekend.
Player/s to watch: Milla Swain and Josie Boys. These girls have the experience from playing in this division last year. They play different roles within the team, but have a lot of potential. Also watch for Grace Smith in her first State Cup. She is a natural talent.
Biggest threat: Manly and Doyalson.
Coach Anna Gleeson says: We have quite a young team, but with the strength of our senior players I'd like to see us get through to finals day on Sunday.
Player/s to watch: Jesse Andrews will show great leadership in the team, but the whole team will do well if they come together on game day.
Biggest threat: Expect Manly and Central Coast to be tough competition.
Coach Bec Howard says: I've got such a great group of boys in this team. What we lack in experience we make up for with natural talent and commitment to back ourselves and our team mates.
Player/s to watch: The girls work well collectively as a team and bring something to the table. Coach Nicole Prince doesn't believe there is one individual to watch.
Biggest threat: The weather.
Coach Nicole Prince says: I am looking forward to my girls doing their best and hope we can make it at least to the round of 16. I hope we can go further but with the weather and the condition of the fields, it's going to be quite different playing in these conditions.
Player/s to watch: Older boys Ethan Tombs, Jack Alchin, Tana Marino and Sam Watts have gone up another level this year. They're stronger, faster and more dominant.
Biggest threat: The biggest danger in the competition is always Manly. They've got quality players and quality coaching staff. Fortunately, Port Macquarie only cross paths with their second team in the round games. They will treat each of their round games with high intensity in order to prepare for the knockout stages.
Coach Warren Lorger says: Wehave great momentum coming off our regional tournament success and our training has been outstanding. All players have committed to our training schedule and are prepared. These boys will be there in the knockout stages on Sunday, but how far they go will be up to them.
Player/s to watch: They are a team with a good skill set across the park, with every girl capable of creating opportunities. Brooke Myers and Sophie Evans are captains and top age in the division and their experience and help from the girls around them will help get the team in field position to take opportunities when they arise. The running games of Fleur Sherlock and Emily Sheather will create lots of opportunities with their speed.
Biggest threat: Port Macquarie's pool looks pretty good, however, all the teams pose a challenge.
Coach Louise Hopkins says: The Junior State Cup is always a tough competition and we just need to bring our best and trust in each other. Strive to do our best and be competitive till the end. Let's have some fun.
Player/s to watch: Josh Goldberg. He has a good understanding of the game and is capable of playing eyes-up footy and what's in front of him which will be very important on a weekend where ball handling will be important.
Biggest threat: There are a lot of good players across the competition which means it is an open division and anyone can win it. However, the sides that have high completion rates are generally the most competitive.
Coach David Lacey says: We have a good mix throughout our team and the boys have shown that when they are in a grind they really keep working until they come out the other side. The structure and policies these boys have trained along with their attitude will see them achieve the goals they have set.
Player/s to watch: Allie Wood and Petrea Spencer. Both girls have dynamic speed and a great step which is really handy in women's touch. Not only can the girls find their way to the tryline, they have both developed really good passing games over the past 12 months.
Biggest threat: Manly are always the team to avoid and each team hopes they don't meet them in the quarter-finals as that can be the difference between second and eighth. In saying that, Wagga upset them two years ago in the final, and the locals have plans to do the same in 2020.
Coach Cath Eichmann says: This team first played together as 10 and 11-year-old's in the Port under-12 team and have stuck together ever since. For half the team this is their final Junior State Cup and they are hungrier than ever. The girls have trained harder, turned up to every session even when sick or injured, got themselves fitter than they have ever been and are determined to cause some upsets and ensure they make it to the state finals in Penrith.
Player/s to watch: Corey Lewis has really stepped it up this campaign, coming in to link from the wing and coaching staff believe he will have a big tournament.
Biggest threat: Manly and Central Coast have been one and two in their division for the last few seasons and will be right up amongst it again this year.
Coach Brendan Prince says: We've got a tight knit bunch of guys who really put in for each other. Coming off winning the Northern Eagles tournament a month ago we're confident we can go deep into Sunday afternoon.
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