Queensland Mixed OzTag players Emma Lewis and Robbie Palmer are eagerly awaiting their State of Origin next weekend.
Queensland Mixed OzTag players Emma Lewis and Robbie Palmer are eagerly awaiting their State of Origin next weekend. Allan Reinikka

Spirit will not be beaten

ROCKHAMPTON OzTag players Emma Lewis and Robbie Palmer are not fazed by Queensland's interstate record.

The pair line up for Queensland in the annual State of Origin battle with New South Wales next weekend at Maroochydore Rugby League Club on the Sunshine Coast and are facing one of the most dominant opponents in interstate sport.

A new sport on the Queensland landscape, OzTag has been played in NSW for 20 years, and the Blues have certainly finetuned their game.

Since the first interstate match in 2008, Queensland has managed to win only one match in 63 contests.

An undaunted Lewis is suiting up in the maroon colours for the second time, after representing Queensland in 2009, while Palmer makes his first appearances for his State.

“They've really dominated these matches in the past,” Lewis said.

“I remember our women's team a couple years ago played against one of the over-40s New South Wales women's sides and they blitzed us.

“It's bigger than touch footy down (in New South Wales).”

The pair was selected in the Queensland team after representing the first ever Capricorn Coast Cyclones team to participate at the OzTag State Cup in Toowoomba last month and while only relatively new to the sport, are developing quickly into quality players.

Rockhampton OzTag co-ordinator Ryan Scott said the pair's selection was an indication of the talent in the region that will improve over time.

“The talent we've got in Rocky is pretty high, but it's just very raw,” he said.

“We're a fair bit off the pace, but the best thing about the State Cup is that it gives players an idea of the level of competition out there.

“You can see it out (on the field).

"The players that have been playing for a while are so much better at taking the tags and avoiding defenders.”

OzTag is a cross hybrid form of rugby league and touch footy, where a tackle is made when a strip of cloth attached by Velcro, known as a tag, is removed from the side of a player's shorts.

Teams kick off as in league and drop outs are also taken while kicking in general play is allowed but must be below shoulder height.

The start of the OzTag winter season is just around the corner, with the competition expected to begin on June 20.

Nominations are still open for men's, women's and mixed teams while a junior season will begin in October.

For more information or to register a team, contact Scott at rockhampton@oztag.com.



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