By Liam Emerton
Our region has a terrific reputation for being a breeding ground for young touch footballers, and results on the weekend put an exclamation mark next to that statement.
The Central Queensland Bulls took out the under 16 girls and 18 boys National Youth Championships (NYC) with two stellar grand final victories.
The under 12 Girls, 12 Boys, 14 Girls and 14 Boys also all made the big dance, however, finished runners-up in their respective competitions.
To add to that impressive feat our representative touch football association was named as the second-best touch football entity at the championships.
And the winning didn’t stop there, Jardel Bob (18 Boys) and Kaliah Bob (16 Girls) were named players of the series while Zayne Cox (18 Boys) was named player of the finals.
Also impressive was under 18 boys’ Angus Gabriel whose magnificent intercept try made the Touch Football Australia highlight reel after he ran away for a huge grand final moment.
After the under 18 boys’ 11-3 grand final victory Patrick Crow and Flynn Kelso spoke with Touch Football Australia’s media about the amazing achievement.
“It was a good one definitely, the boys really gave it to us in the round game and especially out there too so it was really good,” said Crow.
“It’s definitely one of my favorite [carnivals]. You play different people, it’s not the usual Gold Coast, Brissy players,” added Kelso.
“It’s good to come here, get some different competition and go out like this.
“Past coaches, junior coaches, club coaches, they all contribute to us being the players we are. Hats off to them and thank you.”
Rockhampton Touch president Gary Benbow was at the NYC watching all the action unfold and spoke to CQ Today about the incredibly strong program that Central Queensland has.
“It’s tremendous for the region, you couldn’t ask for better,” he said.
“Overall it was a great performance by Central Queensland.
“The efforts that the young girls and boys put in over the last two or three years, probably longer, they’re just getting stronger and stronger every year.
“It comes back to our coaches and we couldn’t be prouder of the boys and girls.
“They know the standard they have to get to and the way they train and look out for each other is tremendous.”
Rockhampton already has a terrific touch football identity and when you add Gladstone, Yeppoon, Emerald, and all across CQ into the mix it becomes a sensational selection of top-tier talents.
Adding to that is the development of our players and coaches which Benbow said is growing each and every year.
“The culture up here in the Central Queensland area is very strong,” said Benbow.
“From our seniors right down to our juniors I think they know exactly what they’ve got to do to get to that next level.
“And that goes to Queensland representation and Australian youth sides and senior sides.
“Years ago you wouldn’t have heard of Central Queensland in Australian representatives and Queensland representatives but in the present time, it’s just massive.
“It’s the breeding grounds for our Australian sides at the moment. We are a nursery up here and we just improve every year.”