Gunnedah’s junior touch teams, the Goannas, took on the 2023 NSW Junior State Cup in Dubbo last month.
Teams of 14 players had been chosen to travel to Dubbo from Friday, February 24 until Sunday, February 26.
The last few years had seen the club take a more serious approach with holiday clinics and a junior competition that included skill development and drills.
The dream to take the players to the Junior State Cup had been months in the making with more intense training and perfecting new techniques.
The Goannas hard work had paid off when it received the opportunity to compete against the best juniors in the state.
The Gunnedah teams that travelled included an under 12 boys’ and girls’ team, an under 14 boys’ and girls’ team and an under 16 girls’ team.
The weekend had 70 players across the five local teams fitted with new Goanna attire, representing Gunnedah against the state’s best.
Competition travelled from all around NSW, including Sydney and Newcastle.
The competition was fierce and had been training together for years but the Goanna teams took each game with enthusiasm.
Each Gunnedah team had a coach and assistant coach directing the players with strategies and support.
The weekend was described as a rewarding experience with teammates supporting each other through the games.
Despite losses, the teams had pulled a few close wins and ties.
Each team played about four or five games against other teams in its ‘pool’ over the Friday and Saturday.
The under 14 girls team scaled the ladder to the top 16 in their age category.
These top teams played in the final games on the Sunday with the under 14 girls travelling to Manly to compete.
It was up against one of the ‘top ranked’ teams in the division and unfortunately the Goannas were bested on the day.
The end of the weekend barbeque handed out two awards per team for the coach’s and players’ player awards.
Under 12 girls’ coach’s award went to Kayla Poss and the players’ player award to Lara Torrens.
Under 12 boys’ coach’s award went to Bailey Skepper and the players’ player award went to Will Stephenson.
Under 14 girls’ coach’s awards went to Evie Bieman and players’ player award to Claire Dowe.
Under 14 boys’ coach’s award went to Jedd Smallwood and players’ player award to Mitch Passfield.
Under 16 girls’ coach’s award went to Arlie Torrens and the players’ player award went to Chelsie Smith.
Goanna juniors are hoping in the future to take on other competitions such as the Northern Eagles Championships.