Rocky touch footy shows Aus squad
YOU might think the winner would be a foregone conclusion when a country team stood up for a game of touch football against the open Australian men’s squad.
Except, of course, when that local country team is Rockhampton.
The Australian squad, who were in town for a training camp, didn’t know what hit them when they stepped onto the Cyril Connell Touch Fields on Saturday to play the Rockhampton Invitational team and the Indigenous All Stars team.
And with the help of Benji Marshall, who joined forces with the Rockhampton Invitational team in their first game against Australia, the typical Rockhampton weather wasn’t the only thing bringing heat to the game.
Gavin Shuker of Rockhampton Touch Football Association said the first game was tight, but the last one was the best game he had ever played in.
“The first game Benji Marshall absolutely ripped into them and we ended with 6-6,” he said.
When the second game began the Australians wouldn’t let the locals cross their authority again and brought all guns to bear and brought down the Rockhampton side at 9-6.
But when the teams faced for their final game Marshall was out.
But Rockhampton still had Daniel Withers, who is also an Australian representative, and showed no mercy to his Australian team with Rockhampton winning 5-2.
“They copped a rocket half-time at 3-2 and then we beat them 2-nil in the second half,” Shuker said.
“It was one of the best games I have ever been involved in.
“It just shows if you put in the right kind of commitment, the country team can do it.”
The spectators moved around to keep in the trees’ shade as the day wore on. The CQ Indigenous All Stars team stepped out into the heat to face the Australian side.
The local team was also joined by Benji Marshall, who not only played side-by-side with the boys, but also gave encouragement and tips.
“Benji really loves challenging himself because he played touch as young bloke and played really well,” Shuker said.
The All Stars team lost their games against the Australian side, but Shuker said it was obvious that the local boys showed talent and strength.
“They have so much going for them it is unbelievable,” he said.
The Australian women’s side also stepped up to face the fury of the women’s Rockhampton Invitational team.
But the local girls couldn’t get the ball down despite keeping up with the pace of the game.
“They learnt so much and I was really proud of them,” Shuker said.
The first game Benji Marshall absolutely ripped into them