The 25th annual Inferno National Touch League (NTL) is currently being held at C.ex Coffs International Stadium. The tournament tapped off this morning, Wednesday 10th , and runs through to Saturday 13th March 2021.
After a turbulent 12 months, Touch Football Australia (TFA) is thrilled that 114 teams, 130 referees, plus family members and other supporters, have returned to Coffs Harbour from all over Australia for the annual national championships.
Participants and their families are thrilled that the event’s COVID-19 Plan is allowing for a limited amount of spectators at the event, thanks to the large size of the venue and safety precautions in place, including participants only attending for their games rather than being able to stay at the venue throughout the tournament.
Teams from all states and territories except Western Australia are in attendance.
TFA CEO Jamie O’Connor is excited that the event is able to run relatively normally, albeit with safety protocols in place.
“We are delighted to be able to deliver the 25th National Touch League for about 2,500 participants, and we’re particularly pleased about being able to welcome spectators to the event.
“It’s a thrill for Touch Football’s community to reunite in beautiful Coffs Harbour after the extremely difficult 12 months everyone has had.”
The best elite Touch players in the country are competing in the tournament’s Open divisions, with athletes from the Australian Emus teams representing many different regions. The event will also include Masters divisions, featuring former NRL stars such as Steve Menzies and Scott Prince, and the All Abilities division.
The new All Abilities division was introduced last year to allow for people with a physical or intellectual impairment to take part in the event. While seven All Abilities teams took part in the inaugural year in 2020, the division has grown to 12 All Abilities teams for 2021.
The 14 different divisions that make up the tournament – which feature Men’s, Women’s and Mixed teams – demonstrate the inclusive nature of Touch Football and the fact that it’s a game for life.
“We’re really grateful to our event and destination partners, the NSW Government through Destination NSW, and to Coffs Harbour City Council, for their ongoing support, which has allowed Coffs Harbour to continue as the home of our national championships,” said O’Connor.
“Our strategy of not having participants remain at the venue between games not only allows us to cater for spectators but it also means our people will have more time to get out and about and enjoy all that the region has to offer.”
All NTL games played on Fields 1 & 2 are being live streamed from the TFA YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/touchfootballaus.
Event facts and figures
114: The number of teams competing this year – just 5 less teams than last year despite COVID-19 impacts.
130: The number of referees in attendance.
2,500: The total number of participants (players, coaches, team staff and officials) this year.
14 divisions: Men’s Open, Women’s Open, Mixed Open, Men’s 30s, Women’s 30s, Senior Mixed, Men’s 40s, Women’s 40s, Men’s 45s, Women’s 45s, Men’s 50s, Men’s 55s, Men’s 60s and All Abilities.
1997: The year the first NTL was held in Coffs Harbour. Coffs has hosted a total of 22 of the 25 NTL events.
$100 million+ generated: The tournament has generated over $100 million for the local Coffs Coast economy since its inception, averaging $4 million in economic activity per year.
110,000: The event has attracted this many visitors to Coffs Harbour since 1997.
Hunter Western Hornets: Are the reigning Men’s Open Champions.
Sydney Mets: Are the reigning Women’s Champs.