Sport

Hervey Bay turns it on as young touch stars dazzle

Touch - 2014 Junior State Carnival, Hervey Bay - U/18 winners - Redlands team.
Touch - 2014 Junior State Carnival, Hervey Bay - U/18 winners - Redlands team. Alistair Brightman

AMID the ecstatic vibe, there were tears of joy, pride and excitement amongst players as the 2014 Junior State Cup finished with a bang in Hervey Bay yesterday.

Sore bodies and blisters will be a common trend today after a record 202 teams (about 2500 players) from touch associations across the state took part in the testing yet rewarding three-day competition.

Fields were awash with colour, vibrancy and energy - everything you want to create a carnival atmosphere - as 20 teams battled out grand finals in 10 age group divisions.

Some tight finishes in matches and pulsating grand finals enthralled spectators who lined the sidelines to cheer for their favourite teams at the Torquay sports precinct.

It's the fourth year Hervey Bay has hosted the popular touch football carnival, but the big question on everybody's lips now that it is all over is can it get bigger again next year?

"Definitely," Queensland Touch general manager Gary Madders said.

"This year was certainly the best Junior State Cup we've had in so much we had record teams and the competition is getting stronger because more people are preparing for it a lot earlier.

"Planning has already started for next year and we've already had a few discussions with Cairns on trying to get them down here.

"If we can give them some support with some accommodation, it would be great if we can pull them into the competition."

The 2014 edition of the JSC was be a tough one for Hervey Bay, but you wouldn't have guessed it by looking at the players' smiling faces, capturing the true spirit of the event.

The addition of the teams sprints challenge to Saturday's program proved a huge success with thousands of people swarming to the main field to see which teams had the fastest sprinters.

"It was definitely one of the highlights because we stopped the whole tournament to run the sprints and the whole place was packed," Madders said.

"By turning it into a teams event (unlike last year when it was an individual contest) was just unbelievable.

"There were some sprint divisions that had 20 teams in it."

For Hervey Bay, the tournament not only provides its junior teams a chance to gauge their talent against the biggest touch football associations in the state, but also offers a perfect chance to promote the city and the sport.

Gary Bendow, coach of the victorious Rockhampton under-16 boy's team, couldn't speak more highly of the event.

"It's a great location, great venue and you can't get much better than Hervey Bay," he said.

"This year Rockhampton brought 19 teams, but it's the people you meet down here and the friendships you get over the years that makes it great.

"You might not see them for 12 months, but when you come back here they treat you like you're part of the family.

"Hervey Bay should give themselves a rap for it, they're excellent."

JUNIOR STATE CUP PREMIERS AND AWARD WINNERS

10 years boys: Toowoomba White

10 years girls: Gold Coast (A)

12 years boys: Toowoomba White

12 years girls: Brisbane Metropolitan Red

14 years boys: Gold Coast (A)

14 years girls: Gold Coast (1)

16 years boys: Rockhampton

16 years girls: Kawana

18 years boys: Redlands

18 years girls: Caboolture

Kelly Norman Award: Georgina Rackemann

Scott Notley Award: Jake Notley

Overall Small Affiliate Award: Gympie

Overall Medium Affiliate Award: Caboolture

Egger/Mowles Champion Affiliate Award: 1st Gold Coast, 2nd BMTA, 3rd Redlands