Central Coast eager to continue dominance after claiming NSW Junior State Cup Club Championship
Central Coast have continued their dominance of the Australian representative Oztag scene, claiming the overall Club Championships following the competition of the NSW Junior State Cup on Sunday.
While the U12s-17s NSW State Cup was interrupted by weather earlier this month, the U9s-U11s tournament was played in far drier conditions over the weekend.
Central Coast added another more silverware to their trophy cabinet, winning the Girls 11s division and finished the two tournaments on 97 points just ahead of Baulkham Hills (93 points) and Souths (66 points).
“Our Girls 15s have won their last three tournaments in a row, including Nationals, they’ve probably been the standout team over the past 18 months and they’re all looking towards Australian selection later this year,” Central Coast Oztag director Dale Berg told Oztag Australia
“We’d expect to have 5 or 6 of those girls contending fairly strongly to make those teams.
“Our Girls 16s have gone back to back from Nationals into State Cup. They’ve come a long way in the past 12 months and have gone from scraping into the finals at most tournaments to winning two in a row.
“Our Boys 14s also won their first State Cup and are another side that has improved immensely over the past year.
“Then our Girls 11s won this weekend. They’ve been quite a strong team since the under 9s and the coach there has done a great job in getting as many girls to trial for the side as possible.”
Berg put Central Coast’s recent success down to the strength of the game across the region and to the quality of coaches involved in the Central Coast set-up.
“We’re lucky that we’ve set up competitions in some really good areas where we draw strong players from league clubs up and down the coast.
“We’ve also had huge growth in the amount of girls playing Oztag up here in the last two to three years and I think when you look at our results, our girls have been particularly strong.
“In the last few years we’ve tried to get as many of our representative players in to coach our girls teams as possible and that has made a real difference. The skill level is going up year on year and I think that improvement and growth is only going to continue on the Central Coast.”
While Berg admitted that the ending to the NSW Junior State Cup in Coffs Harbour wasn’t ideal, he said the Club Championship was testament to the consistency of his sides across all divisions.
“All the teams probably would have preferred to win in a grand final but they couldn’t control that and fortunately they got themselves in a strong position early in the tournament.
“We only had one team out of our 18 teams at Coffs Harbour who didn’t qualify for the finals and from those sides, I think we only had two teams who weren’t ranked in the top four of their respective divisions.
“The shorter games weren’t ideal, but fortunately our sides were able to make good decisions when it mattered and that really helps when you’re only playing 8.5 minute halves.
Berg also seemed confident that Central Coast would continue their strong form at the NSW Senior State Cup late next month.
“We have a lot of girls who will be playing in our Girls 20s side who played in the Junior State Cup as well, so it’s exciting to see the younger players push through into the senior ranks.
“Our men’s sides are also going through a bit of a transitional period and I think we’ll have a lot of the Boys 16s and 18s push through into the seniors in the next few years as well.
“We’ve got four players from the Boys 17s side last year playing in our Men’s Opens side at Senior State Cup this year so it’s exciting times ahead.”