Ipswich Touch Association Super 8s competitors.
Ipswich Touch Association Super 8s competitors.

Time to get serious for ultra-competitive Super-8s finalists

TOUCH FOOTBALL: The Ipswich Touch Association elite Super-8s tournament enters the decisive stage this Friday night.

Hotly contested over the last six weeks, both the men’s and women’s draws are set to go down to the wire.

Having progressed to the semi-finals reigning champions the Fockers are searching for back-to-back crowns.

They are expected to lock horns with the men’s competition’s other standout side O’Doyle in the decider.

Jostling for supremacy throughout, the two evenly matched outfits possess almost identical for and against, with each registering 54 tries.

Defensive commitment is certain to be critical. Led by Australian and North Queensland Cowboys rep Lachy Pearce, the Fockers hold a slight advantage in that department having conceded two tries less. To reach the final the frontrunners must first overcome the Western Mustangs and a Springfield Stingers unit guided by the world’s best playmaker, Dylan Hennessey.

Meanwhile, favourites the Cobras will look to fend off challenges from the Western Mustangs, Falcons and Natives for the women’s crown.

It has largely been a one horse race but finals are a different beast and anything could eventuate.

Ipswich Touch Association development officer Charlie Barker said the second, third and fourth-ranked women’s teams were extremely competitive and she could not wait to see who reached the trophy game.

She said the eagerly-anticipated men’s final was predicted to be an absolute thriller with sublime skills on show and plenty of tries scored.

“I wouldn’t rule out the other teams,” she said.

“All players will be there. Some have missed games but they will all be back for the finals, so it will be interesting. There have been a lot of close games.”

Barring the rain disruptions the annual tournament created by Toni Notley has gone off without a hitch and achieved its aim of offering players to enter the National Touch League from next Thursday the chance to warm-up in a match setting.

“There have been no issues,” she said.

“All things considered everyone responded really well to the change in draw structure and it has run pretty well considering the washouts. Teams that are going away to the NTL have found it very valuable getting that time on the field against quality opponents.

“Having a practice run as a team rather than in training allows players to bond better.

“Teams to have taken part in the Super 8s in the past have done well at the NTL.”

Barker said players and supporters were all pumped for the series-defining evening.

She said large crowds had been creating a lively atmosphere and she encouraged the public to turn up to soak up the excitement and witness some top class touch football. The semis will be played on Friday at 6.30 and 7.20pm, with finals to follow at 8.10 (women) and 9pm (men).