Hopes are high this weekend with two Dubbo sides competing at 40th edition of the annual NSW Touch Football State Cup.
Played at Port Macquarie, the Dubbo Open Men and Open Women’s sides took part in the qualifying events on Saturday, with the competition proper kicking off on Saturday.
As well as the two sides, a number of other local players have made the trip to fill in for sides in divisions where Dubbo isn’t represented.
This year also marks the first time in recent history Dubbo has sent an Open Men’s side and Dubbo Touch Football Association’s Mandy Turner stated that was a sign of the sport’s continued growth locally.
“Definitely,” she said.
“They recently went to the Country Championships at Wollongong and had a good hit-out there and that experience would have done them good as going to Coffs Harbour is a big commitment.”
The competition is the premier one on the NSW Touch Football Association (NSWTA) calendar and with it being the 40th one conducted by NSWTA it is expected to be bigger than ever.
The State Cup is open to all NSW affiliated members, meaning the finest players in the state will be battling it out for glory.
In terms of the Dubbo hopes, both sides have a number of new faces with a large amount of players, like Turner, being unable to play this year.
Turner stated that was another good thing for the sport locally, with even more players getting a taste of competition at the highest level.
“There’s a lot of new players and it’s just a great experience,” she said.
“Once you’ve finished in your competition you can watch the finals where the top teams in the state are playing and that’s awesome.
“Some of those teams have had players who went on to be part of the women’s Rugby Sevens side which won gold (at the Olympics) so to see that calibre of players and to be in the stadium is awesome.”
Turner said something working in Dubbo’s favour at the Country Cup, where there will be three divisions of competition played out on the weekend, is the even nature of the local sides.
Despite the changeover in players, there is still plenty of talent on offer.
“There’s a lot of people who have played for a lot of years and there’s some who have just come in the last couple of years,” Turner said.
“It’s going to be good for the Men’s Opens side to get to play at that level and have that experience under their belt because that will help them in the years to come.”