Bears Breakthrough: Northern Sydney Oztag first Junior Rep team

by | Apr 20, 2023 | Latest News, NSW Oztag

The Northern Sydney Bears Boys 16s were the association’s first ever junior representative side to compete at the NSW State Championships.

In February, Northern Sydney Oztag (NSO) were represented at the Junior State Cup for the very first time – the inaugural team competing in the Boys 16s division.

With no current Junior competition in Northern Sydney, this group of boys have been competing in the Senior Men’s division, of which they prove to consistently hold their own.

When representative interest surfaced, NSO were quick to get the ball rolling – knowing well, the talent among this Northern Sydney Bears side. 

As coach, Tim Beitsch loved watching the group gel and recognise their potential with every game.

“It was a great experience seeing the team come together and realise they could be competitive against some of the best teams in NSW,” he said.

In the lead up to the tournament, the team focused on strengthening their defence in the middle – knowing their attack would take shape off the back of good “D” sets.

“We tried to make other teams beat us rather than allow easy tries through the centre of the field… We knew our attack would look after itself,” Beitsch said.

“It was good to see some of the more fancied teams get frustrated by our defence and tenacity,” he said.

Heading to Coffs Harbour, the team had a goal – to be competitive in every game and win at least one. So, watching the boys achieve just that made their coach extremely proud.

“A lot of the boys had played with other teams with little or no success in the past, which meant any victory would mean the tournament was a success,” Beitsch said.

“Having our first win and watching the boys enjoy the tournament together as a team – on and off the field made me most proud,” he said.

Not only did the team stay together for the duration of the tournament, but many of them are mates outside of Oztag – which Beitsch believes played a big part in how they gelled on the field. 

“A lot of the boys have played league together for years and go to school with each other which meant they have strong bonds… This transferred to the way they played together – good support play and good communication in defence,” he said.

NSO Association Coordinator, Luke Manahan said he was thrilled to send their first Junior representative team to State Cup.

“It was incredible to see the boys rep the orange, blue and white… they did us very proud,” he said.

Manahan hopes to introduce a Northern Sydney Junior competition in 2023 and plans to develop the Juniors at both a local and representative level moving forward.

“There is a demand for Juniors in the area, so I’d love to see the competition kick off with good competitive numbers,” Manahan said.

“From there I would hope to see more teams represented at State Cup… Further to that we could have a strong Northern Suburbs Region at Nationals with Northern Beaches Oztag on the rise,” he said.

Northern Sydney Oztag’s Senior Winter comp kicks off April 24 at Forsyth Park, Neutral Bay. The competition will be played on Monday nights, for both Men’s and Mixed divisions. For more details or to register, head to NSO website or Facebook page.