Oztag champions heading to Auckland

John Coomer Roar Guru

By John Coomer, John Coomer is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger

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    Australian and New Zealand’s best Oztag teams are heading to Auckland to compete in a three-day Challenge Cup carnival starting this Friday.

    The event will see champion male and female teams from Queensland, New South Wales, Auckland and Wellington compete against each other in a round-robin format.

    The most successful teams will progress through to elimination finals before an eventual Australasian winner is determined in each division.

    Age groups range from teenagers through to masters (over 35 for women and over 55 for men). All teams have earned their invitations to the tournament through their winning performances at state and regional events in 2017.

    Oztag is a fast-growing sport, combining elements of touch football and rugby league, which was founded by former Cronulla, St George and Illawarra halfback Perry Haddock in the early 1990s. Players wear two velcro tags on either side of their shorts, and defenders remove one of the tags to stop a ball carrier’s progress.

    Each team has eight players on the field at any one time and games are played over two 20-minute halves. The attacking team has five ‘tackles’ to score, with below shoulder-height kicks allowed on either the zero or last tackles.

    One of the champion Queensland teams that will compete in New Zealand is the Moorooka Roar, who won the Under 18 division at the Queensland Oztag Senior State Cup earlier in the year.

    Two of Moorooka’s players – Tahlia Hickie and Tahlia Zischke – were then selected in the Queensland under-20s team based on their performances at that carnival, while three others – Hannah Smith, Jess Taylor and Aleah Mansfield – made the Brisbane City team, and Je’a Hemara was selected for the combined Barbarians team.

    The Roar are coached by two former rugby league players – Dean Gavin and Michael Devlin – and will be hoping to continue their good form when they travel across the ditch.

    Many rugby league players use Oztag for off-season fitness and skill development, while it also attracts people who drop out of rugby league because of the game’s physical toll. Oztag allows them to use their skills without the heavy contact.

    The velcro tags also eliminate the ‘phantom touch’ issue of touch football, while the ability to kick adds an extra dimension to make Oztag attacking and defensive structures more like rugby league.

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    The Crowd Says (1)

    • November 28th 2017 @ 8:52am
      not so super said | November 28th 2017 @ 8:52am | ! Report

      Oztag is a fast-growing sport – i would say it is actually established. Player numbers in the shire have been huge for 2 decades

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