Care Bears in winning touch
TOUCH: Rockhampton's Care Bears have gone through undefeated to win back-to-back titles in the under-17 boys division at the Red Rooster Junior Carnival.
A record 133 boys and girls touch teams took part in the annual event, played at the Cyril Connell Fields in Rockhampton at the weekend.
The 17 boys decider was a battle of the Bears with the defending champs (Care Bears) coming up against another Rocky team, the Drop Bears.
The Drop Bears got the jump on their opponents early, scoring two tries in the first five minutes.
Care Bears, led by Australian representative Blake Moore, had levelled it up by half-time and then extended their lead to 4-2 in the second half.
Drop Bears managed to get one back but the final score ended up 5-3 in the Care Bears' favour.
Moore was named player of the final and was pleased with the team's performance.
"To go back-to-back feels pretty good,” he said. "It was definitely a team effort in the grand final, everyone played really well.
"We played six games all up and went through undefeated.
"The grand final win was great but probably one of the best performances was in our second game on Sunday.
"We knew we had to get heaps to tries to get our for and against average up and we ended up winning 15-1.”
More than 300 games were played at the carnival which is now recognised as one of the biggest touch competitions in regional Australia.
Rockhampton Junior Touch president Mick Callow said it was a wonderful weekend which again ran like clockwork.
"We had a record number of teams. It just keeps growing and it's just a great event,” he said.
"It's a great success story for the sport and for the city of Rockhampton.”
Callow said while the carnival was promoted as a participation event, there was always some top-quality touch played across every age group.
"There were some closely contested games in the 17 boys and the grand final was a great match,” he said.
"Local club side Magpies went up against Mackay in the 17 girls final and were only beaten 3-2, which is a great indictment of the strength of Rocky Touch.
"But we also had some fun teams who dressed up in hula skirts and had their faces painted.
"It's just wonderful to see so many kids and so many parents and supporters enjoying the carnival.
"Going on what I saw over the weekend, there is some great talent coming through the ranks.”
Teams came from the host city, the Capricorn Coast, Mackay, Gladstone, Blackwater, Emerald and as far away as Dalby and Tambo.
Callow said the fact that teams were prepared to travel eight hours to compete at the Red Rooster Junior Carnival was a clear indication "we must be doing something right”.