Dynamic family duo takes touch team to new heights
TOUCH: There is a 58-year age difference but that did not stop two members of a Rockhampton family sharing a memorable sporting achievement.
Rod Pratt coached the winning Rockhampton Red under-12 boys team in which his grandson Nash played.
The under-12s won their divison at the Junior State Cup in Hervey Bay.
The team went through the three-day carnival undefeated.
They won their six round games, cruised through their quarter and semi and scored a hard-fought 3-2 win over Coomera in the grand final.
The Rockhampton Red under-16 girls also tasted victory.
They were also unbeaten and capped their dominant performance with a 5-4 win over BMTA in the final, with Sophie Duff taking Player of the Final honours.
Rockhampton's under-16 and under-18 boys also made the grand final, only to be beaten in their respective deciders.
Pratt, 68, has coached the under-12 boys team for the past 12 years. They have made the final for three of the past four years but the 2019 outfit broke through to deliver him a much-deserved title.
The team's inspirational captain Conner Wastell was Player of the Final.
Pratt was thrilled with the victory, which he said was made more special by the presence of 10-year-old Nash who was one of the youngest in the team.
"I just couldn't fault the boys. Everyone knew their role and played it perfectly,” he said.
"They played some very mature touch for boys so young so it was a real credit to them.
"It was really special to win it with that group of boys and to have Nash in there made it a very emotional experience.
"To do something like that with your grandchild is something to treasure.”
Pratt said that Nash and Jay Marsh were the "babies of the team” but more than held their own against some quality opposition.
Marsh scored 12 tries and finished as the leading try scorer in the under-12 boys division.
Pratt was also quick to praise his co-coach Daniel Gill.
"Daniel provides a lot of the tactical side because he's a current player. I haven't played touch since most of these boys were born,” Pratt said
"Between us we work things through and devise a plan on how we go about it.”
Pratt said skipper Wastell led from the front, while Bronson Carlos went from strength to strength at the carnival.
Lachy Huggers, who missed all of last year with a knee injury, returned to play a vital role in the team.
Braith Tzoutzias, who battled illness all carnival, showed a lot of courage to get off his sick bed and play in the grand final.
Pratt is a stalwart of Rockhampton Touch and has been involved as a player, coach, manager and committee member for almost 40 years.
He loves the game and is passionate about helping junior players develop and thrive.
"I've got a lot out of the game so I don't mind giving back,” he said.
"But it's not all give, I get a lot out of it.
"Coaching the juniors is what I really like doing now and the depth of talent in Rockhampton is amazing.
"We've got a real assembly line happening and I'm sure we're going to be a very competitive centre for years and years to come.”