14 Rocky reps to play for Australia
TOUCH: Fourteen Rockhampton touch players will don the green and gold in the Youth Trans-Tasman Series in New Zealand in January.
In what is a glowing endorsement of Rockhampton Touch Association's development program, it is the biggest contingent from any city ever selected for national duties.
The players will compete in the under-17 and under-19 boys, girls and mixed teams. Australia will look to extend its recent success, having won the past four Youth Trans-Tasman events following the concept's re-introduction in 2009.
RTA president Gary Benbow, who has coached many of the Aussie reps, said it was a massive achievement for the sport, the city and the dedicated athletes.
"It's massive for Rockhampton,” he said. "Over the last four or five years, we've been starting to get more and more players recognised at a representative level.
"It says a lot about the standard of coaching that we have here but it also says a lot about the attitude, discipline and commitment of the players themselves.
"It is fantastic to see them come through the ranks and achieve what they have.”
A fundraising committee has been set up to help the players with the cost of representing their country.
A monster multi-draw raffle has been organised which includes prizes worth more than $3000 donated by local businesses. Among them is $1000 worth of Amart Sport vouchers and two one-year memberships at the Rockhampton Jockey Club.
Another popular item is an autographed Penrith Panthers jersey donated by coach Anthony Griffin, the uncle of player Harry Griffin who will line up in the Australian under-19 mixed team.
The players will be selling the $5 tickets at the Callaghan Park race meeting on Saturday and on Tuesday, December 20, before the raffle is drawn on that day.
RTA also recently presented each player with a specially commissioned half Rocky Redbacks/half Australian jersey to recognise their selection.
The jerseys were made and designed by Inferno, whose director is Gavin Shuker, one of Rockhampton's most decorated touch players.
"There were a few people in the Rocky touch community who came up with the idea,” Shuker said. "We thought it was a good way to recognise their achievements and make them feel special.”
OUR AUSSIE REPS
U17 boys: Baillie List, Blake Moore
U19 boys: Malcolm Kenny, Jacob Marrinan, Damon Moore
U17 mixed: Aaron Moore, Lachlan Crow, Liam Grant, Jacob van Zanden
U19 mixed: Harrison Griffin, Jack Hughes, Luke O'Brien, Connor Harvey
U19 girls: Tamika Upton