NSW Schools Merit Teams to strengthen development pathways for state’s best young talent

NSW Oztag Head of Development Luke Manahan believes selecting NSW Merit sides at this month’s NSW Schools Champions of Champions tournament will further strengthen the development pathway for young Oztag players in the state. 

The best school Oztag sides competed against one another at the Champion of Champions tournament after qualifying by finishing in the top two at 13 regional tournaments. 

Selectors then picked the best of the best from the one day tournament and named NSW Merit sides at the completion of the event. 

“It’s the first time we’ve selected Merit sides as part of our schools pathway and we think it’s something that we can really develop,” Manahan told Oztag Australia. 

“While our older players can be picked in National representative teams each year, we identified that there wasn’t really a dominant pathway for high school aged players. 

“We launched the Australian Oztag High Performance Academy earlier this year and now we’ve added the NSW Schools pathway to make sure we identify the best young talent in the state and keep them in our sport.” 

Manahan said there were initial plans in place to schedule matches for the NSW Merit sides in the future, with the potential for State of Origin style matches against Queensland and potentially even New Zealand Schools down the track. 

“We know we’ve got plenty of talent playing in these school tournaments so we want to identify the best of them and then give those players the opportunity to test themselves against others like them,” he said.

“There’s now a genuine pathway for young players through club representative and school tournaments from their first game, right through to potentially representing Australia in International matches and at World Cups.”

To view the 2019 NSW School Merit teams, click on the below links:

BOYS

Boys YR 7/8 

Boys YR 9/10

Boys YR 11/12

GIRLS

Girls YR 7/8

Girls YR 9/10

Girls YR 11/12