NRL input a boost for growing game

REPRESENTATIVE players from the Ipswich region stand to benefit from an exciting new partnership.

In 2013, a strategic alliance between the National Rugby League and Touch Football Australia (TFA) was formed.

Apart from creating pathways for young players to elite levels of touch football and rugby league, the TFA hopes to benefit from the NRL when it comes to strategic funding for facilities and improving the costs of player registration and insurance.

The NRL can now assist with the promotion of touch football for TFA's million-plus registered players and help develop the sport at grassroots level for its 800,000 school-based participants.

"The much noted careers of both Benji Marshall and Shaun Johnson highlight how touch football can be a means to becoming a professional athlete,'' Ipswich Touch Association executive member Ash Pedley said.

"This partnership should result in a greater number of touch players transitioning to the 13-a-side code."

Initially, this alliance brought the benefit of exposure to a wider audience with 2015 World Cup matches being held at Coffs Harbour televised on free-to-air television. It also allowed for the cosmetic change to the TFA logo so that it is more in line with NRL's badge.

Last week, in another exciting step, the Gold Coast Titans moved to rebrand Queensland's three Elite 8 teams for next month's national touch football tournament. The name changes mean that each team will adopt the brand of one of Queensland's three NRL franchises.

The Stingrays will be renamed the Titans, the Chiefs will become the Broncos and the Country Outlaws will play as the Cowboys.

In further benefits to Queensland Touch Football, the three Elite 8 teams can use the Gold Coast Titans' high performance facility at Parkwood and touch football coaches will have access to elite coaching conferences.

Ipswich Touch Football stands to benefit from this partnership with two local players representing our city at the Elite 8 level.

Brayden Leisemann and Jake Notley will don the newly named Broncos jerseys in Coffs Harbour.

Many other Ipswich players are developing their skills as members of NTL T-League under 20 teams in the March tournament and one day may reap the rewards of Elite 8 representation.

"This alliance with the Titans can only mean that our players are given the chance to enhance their games further under the tutelage of great coaches in first class facilities and bring those experiences to our table."

Notley and Leisemann, along with numerous other Elite 8 and NTL touch footballers from across South-East Queensland are showcasing their skills in the Super 8s competition currently being hosted by the Ipswich Touch Football Association.

The third week of fury again proved why touch football is considered one of the fastest and most skilful games in the world.

Games are played on Friday nights at Jim Finimore Oval commencing at 6.30pm.

Two weeks of games remain.

State of Play

Super 8s men's ladder (after six matches - percentage in brackets): 1. Cobras 18 (343.75), 2. Saints 18 (295.65), 3. Odoyle 16 (129.33), 4. Wolf Pack 14 (89.74), 5. Zero to 100 9 (59.46), 6. Stingrays 8 (50.00), 7. Sharks 8 (34.69), 8. Force 6 (52.08).

Super 8s women's ladder (after six matches - percentage in brackets): 1. Cobras 17 (318.18), 2. Swans 17 (314.29), 3. Grommets 14 (141.67), 4. Meerkats 12 (109.09), 5. Terrors 12 (82.61), 6. IGGS 9 (50.00), 7. Warriors 8 (42.31), 8. Force 7 (21.62).