[supplied by PM&C]
The National Indigenous Touch Football Knockout competition. Image: supplied
A surge in popularity has pushed the National Indigenous Touch Football Knockout competition to new heights, attracting more than 500 players to Dubbo last month.
The number of participating teams doubled in 2018 compared to 2017 when the competition was first held.
Event organiser for the Quit B Fit Tackling Indigenous Smoking program, run by the Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Service, Samantha Ah See said a range of sponsors signed on in 2018.
“It has been exciting to watch the event grow and we look forward to seeing what 2019 event brings,’’ she said.
“In 2018 we had several sponsors jump on board to assist with the event and we are grateful for their involvement.”
Participation doubles at national Indigenous touch football knockout competition
The competition brought together a wide range of ages, from U10s to open aged mixed teams, from Newcastle, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Bourke, Wollongong, Wellington, Dubbo, Gilgandra and Canberra.
“The competition aims to bring together Indigenous community in a bid to promote healthier lifestyle choices and highlight the importance of making informed health decisions,’’ Ms Ah See said.
“In particular the event aims to highlight the QUIT B FIT – Tackling Indigenous Smoking Program and give participants an avenue to seek information and advice about the harmful effects of tobacco smoke on individuals and families as well as seek support for referral pathways.
“The event is a fun-filled family weekend that is alcohol, drug and smoke-free. It brings together families and communities for some outstanding touch football games, in a bid to raise awareness of the impact tobacco smoke has on Closing The Gap.”
Newcastle Brothers United U14s player Kynan Toomey, who was part of the winning team in the U14s division, said it was more than just a competition.
“(I joined) to play alongside my brothers and create memories representing our families and culture and playing the game we love – touch footy,’’ he said.
Kynan said helping to coach younger players was also enjoyable. “The junior divisions are still progressing and will hopefully get bigger and stronger every year," Mr Toomey said.
"The highlight was definitely winning the championship but also playing against the younger divisions and teams. We enjoyed mixing with them and showing them some new skills of touch. Meeting my little cousins and playing against them and alongside them is a memory I’ll never forget. Newcastle Brothers United is more than just a football team. We are family.”
The ability to connect with family at the event was also important to 11-year-old Levi, of the Wiradjuri mob.
He played in the U12 Koori Kaama and joined the tournament to have fun with his cousins.
“It was better than I thought,’’ he said.
“I got two ties and we won the competition. (The highlight was) getting a medal and some prize money.”
Levi said he learned more about how to stay healthy. “Keep away from smoke and stay active,’’ he said.
The results of the National Indigenous Touch Football Knockout were:
Junior Boys - Under 10s:
Runners Up - Googars
Winners - Nanan Kids
Junior Girls - Under 12s:
Runners Up - Gomeroi Sisters
Winners - Koori Kama Young Guns
Junior Boys - Under 12s:
Winners - Koori Kama Young Guns
Junior Girls - Under 14s:
Runners Up - Redfern All Blacks
Winners - Awabakal
Junior Boys - Under 14s Final:
Runners Up - Kamilaroi Sandy Goannas
Winners - Newcastle Brothers United
Women’s Open Final:
Runners Up - Bunji Girls
Winners - Koori Kama Doobays
Mixed Open Final:
Runners Up - Koori Kama
Winners - Watch The Feet
Men’s Open Final:
Runners Up - Castlereagh All Blacks
Winners - Trackz
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