Sydney City Stars Shine at NSW Junior State Cup

Two young Sydney City stars were the talk of the tournament after competing in the Boys Under 10’s division at the NSW Junior State Cup in February.

Nine-year-old talents, Kendall Kilby and Eleni Salabogi made the transition to play their first tournament in the Boys division at the 2021 Junior State Cup in Bass Hill.

These two players were turning heads at the tournament, impressing everyone who had the pleasure of watching them compete in what was a well-drilled and skilful Sydney City side.

Sydney City Under 10’s Boys Coach, Trent Miller, shared what fuelled his decision to bring these players across from the girls’ division to the boys.

“During my time coaching Rugby League, I have witnessed these girls perform at an incredibly high level predominately against boys over the years, knowing the level of talent they possess I felt they deserved the chance to showcase that on the Oztag field,” Miller said.

He discussed how proud he is of the confidence these girls display on and off the field and how their achievements at the tournament came as no shock to him.

“They took care of business as per usual, I don’t see two girls playing against boys, I just see them as two talented kids executing their roles on the field,” Miller said.

“But the recognition they received over the State Cup tournament, especially through live stream, made me an extremely proud coach, for them and their families,” he said.

Playing different positions, both Eleni and Kendall adopt separate roles when they take the field, but what remains consistent is their unwavering effort and ability to execute what is required of them.

“Eleni’s major role for our team was to play on an edge, she has blistering speed, she’s a great tagger and has amazing hands,” Miller said.

“Unlike many ten-year-olds, Eleni is extremely focused and can be trusted to follow a game plan – she is what you would call a coach’s dream,” he said.

Miller clarified that with vision unmatched, Kendall calmly, yet confidently directs her team around the field – making her one of the most dangerous ball players in their division. 

“I’m comfortable in saying Kendall had the best left to right, right to left passing game in the tournament,” Miller said.

“Kendall also has a great show and go, with enough pace for her position. She works tirelessly and is a fearless defender,” he said.

There is no doubt that these girls add value to their team in terms of skill, but Miller made clear that their no-nonsense attitude, ability to adopt instructions, and lead by example is far more important to him as a coach.

“At the tender age of ten they are mentors to my younger daughter and her friends which makes me prouder than anything else,” he said.

The Sydney City Under 10s Boys were extremely competitive, evident in their ability to shift the ball at speed and play what’s in front of them. 

The team headed into Finals with four wins and two losses under their belt, unfortunately falling short of the championship in a tight semi-final, going down 3-2 to Baulkham Hills.

Get to know the girls below.

KENDALL KILBY

Position: Middle/First receiver

Favourite thing about playing Oztag: It’s fast and it’s fun. I’ve made some good friends and I’m allowed to play with boys

Main focus heading onto the field: I want to play well. I think about making good tags and setting up tries

Favourite part of playing with and against boys: I really like playing with the boys. The plays are quicker, and it’s a bit rougher which I like.  I need to push myself to be up to their standard and that helps me become better. When I play against the boys, I really have to focus. Some of them are really fast!

Other sports played: Touch, Soccer, and Rugby League.

Oztag goal: I’d love to win a Grand Final in the boys division. 😊

ELENI SALABOGI

Position: Wing and Link

Favourite thing about playing Oztag: Running and Tagging

Main focus heading onto the field: I have to play my best

Favourite part of playing with and against boys: The competition and it takes me out of my comfort zone

Other sports played: Rugby League, Rugby Union, Little Athletics

Oztag goal: To play Nationals at Coffs Harbour and to win a State Cup