The 2015 National Touch League is steadily approaching with excitement growing around the country. The event will feature 114 teams across 13 divisions, all striving for national championships honours; commencing on Wednesday, 11 March through to finals day on Saturday, 14 March. The Elite Eight Series, which was first played in 2011 and is now in its fourth instalment, will feature the best-of-the-best Men’s and Women’s players in Australia. Each year Touch Football Australia raises the bar with the professionalism of this tournament and this year will be no exception. Our younger Scorpion players will be itching to get onto the playing field after many of them experienced great disappointment with the wash-out of the NSWTA Junior State Cup only a few weeks ago. Scorpions will have representation across a massive 11 divisions and are the reigning Golden Boot champions for the past three years.
Starting with the Men’s Elite 8 division, Coach Dave Nolan is back to the Scorpions family after a tenure with the NSW Rebels. Dave is an astute coach of the game and alongside him will be Jason Martin – both fresh from their successful Youth Trans-Tasman campaign. The NSW Scorpions Men’s team have a wealth of talent and also some of the biggest names in the game including Daniel Barton, Sam Brisby, Simon Lang & Jonathan Palau. Whilst this division is obviously extremely strong an appearance in the final series is a realistic chance with Sam Brisby one of the top few players on the planet at present. It’s extremely refreshing to see how level headed a player like Brisby has remained with all the success and headlines he achieves – a great example to younger players coming through the ranks.
The NSW Scorpions Women’s Elite 8 created history last year by going through the tournament undefeated and taking out the title in dramatic fashion. In what was described as the best game of the tournament the NSW Scorpions ended NSW Mets domination in the Women’s division by claiming their first Elite Eight title in a thriller. As is now edged in Scorpions history a touchdown to Yasmin Meakes with 15 seconds left on the clock gave the Scorpions a thrilling 7-6 victory. The team this year has another extremely strong playing roster with an abundance of World Cup representatives. Elesha Dougal retains the Captaincy after doing a stellar job last year with Barry Gibson & Anthony Dudeck once again at the helm. Look for a big tournament from Laura Peattie – fresh on the back of a dominant Youth Trans-Tasman performance, with sister Sarah Peattie also ready to impress. Amongst the quiet achievers will be Hannah Dyball and Tayla Duguid who have both trained extremely impressively. Last but not least is the one and only Kylie Hilder who brings with her an amazing competitive and infectious winning spirit.
Moving onto the Men’s T-League and Scott Collins gets his opportunity as Head Coach with the able support of Ian Kalms. Once again this is a very young side with a number of players to watch including Liam Simbolon & Adam Haskins. Scorpions Women’s T-League have performed extremely strongly since the introduction of this division a few years ago. With experienced coaches Jamie Clifford & Keith Smith in charge another strong performance deep into the tournament looks likely. Jye Malcolm’s Mixed Opens team have a number of big name players including Josh Gillard who is an obvious Elite 8 talent. The team also have a good mix of youth and enthusiasm that are sure to impress in this division. The Men’s 30’s are back after a disappointing 2014 campaign. With Coach Terry Cooper once again in charge the team will be looking to a number of their Australian World Cup representatives to get them back to their glory days. Watch for big tournaments from Adam Fahim, Drew Davies and the ever reliable Shane “Bubba” Warman.
Looking at the Men’s 40’s team you could be mistaken for thinking this was the NSW or Australian team – with a total of 8 players set to represent the Aussies in the World Cup later this year. The team are the reigning champions and will no doubt be looking forward to meeting old rivals the South Queensland Sharks yet again. The Men’s 45’s are looking to continue their unbeaten title run. Led by the ever-green David Cheung & Tim Kitchingham they would have to be one of the shortest priced favourites in any division at the tournament. Steve Huckle has been working overtime to get the Men’s 50’s to Coffs with a challenging preparation. However the team have the one and only Cliff Lyons as their trump card and therefore anything is possible. The Women’s 40’s are looking to go one better than last year when they made it to the Final only to be defeated by the Hornets. Michelle Griffiths, Vicki Humpherson & Michelle Smidt are the players expected to shine. The Senior Mixed team are back yet again and have strengthened since last year. In a classic 3-on-3 drop-off the team went down to the Sharks in last year’s Final. This year once again Craig Beacoft will be leading the way with new additions Brad Mitchell, Shannon Warren and Sarah Nash all expected to have influential tournaments. Coach Nhut “The Postman” Trinh will be looking to deliver success.
So that’s the preview of the upcoming 2015 NTL, make sure you follow Scorps Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for the latest news from the tournament. Good luck to all teams, play hard and Go Scorps!