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The 2024 Touch Football Tasmania Junior State Cup was held in Devonport over the weekend, and what a weekend it was!

Beautiful sunshine greeted all the participants to the coastal town, with the beachside location of Meercroft Park being especially appreciated by all players and referees, as many made good use of the recovery powers of a dip in the surf, just metres from the fields.

Thirty one teams of juniors attended the event, with teams from some of the state's oldest clubs Condors, Tigers and Grasscutters as well as the newest in Magpies and Bulldogs. All players brought their best play and attitudes to the event, with smiles seen on all faces, even when the scoreboards looked grim.

The Under 10 division was again a participation event, with teams from Rebels, Condors and Devonport playing on a custom-designed half-field in a round robin, with an additional game organised between the teams. The referees gave out Champion medals to the best player from each team in each game, and it was great to see the players wandering around the fields wearing their medals, justifiably proud of their efforts.

In the Girls Under 12 division, Bears from Southern Touch won the final 8-1 over Tigers, also from ST. It was great to see Tigers have a team at the event, showing their investment in juniors, and we look forward to seeing them back next year. The Player of the Final was Victoria Hill, from Bears. The Boys Under 12 division had 5 teams, making it a little awkward to run over one day. The strongest team all day were the Bulldogs from Launceston TA, led by Player of the Series Harry Morrison. They played with great structure, great intensity and flair.

The Girls Under 14 division was dominated by Hazards from LTA, who went through the weekend undefeated. The Player of the Series was Poppy Beaumont from Hazards, who continues her run of dominance in the age group. The Boys Under 14s was a tight affair throughout the weekend, and even though they narrowly won the round game against their final opponents Bears, it was tough to predict that Bulldogs would dominate the final to win 9-4. Six tries in the game saw Tyler Leedham named Player of the Final.

Thanks in large part to Taylor Swift, the Girls Under 16 division wasn't able to go ahead this year, although there were still a bunch of players from this age group playing in the Under 18s. The Boys Under 16s played a best of three series on Sunday between the two entrants Grasscutters and Sharks. The games were very high quality, and closely fought, but Grasscutters came away with the 3-0 victory. Tom Geappen was named Player of the Series, but it could have gone to any number of players across the two teams.

The Girls Under 18s had a late withdrawal of the Devonport TA team due to injuries and work commitments, but played an entertaining series. The final between last year's Club Champions Magpies and Bears was played in the hottest part of the weekend, and the action on the field matched the weather. Bears came out winners 6-3, but Magpies put in a very strong showing. Charlotte Barnes from Bears was named Player of the Final. The Boys Under 18s played a best of five series between Sharks and Devonport. The overall strength of the Sharks team was too much for the Devonport players to keep up with, despite strong defensive periods throughout their games, and Sharks ran out winners 4 games to nil. Jordan Shipp was named Player of the Series.

The referees battled hard over the weekend, and thanks to their efforts the games were all played in great spirits, and with great skill. Four referees received upgrades to level 2: Bella-Grace Bass and Benita Young from DTA, and Bianca Anderson and Georgia Harmey from LTA. Meg Sauerwald was the referee of the tournament, and her smiling face was everywhere all weekend.

The overall club results were closer than we've previously had in the current format of the event, with the top 7 clubs all within range of each other.

Next year's event will be 22-23 Feb at Southern Touch in Hobart.

Overall Results:

B12: Bulldogs, Player of the Series Harry Morrison

G12: Bears, Player of the Final Victoria Hill

B14: Bulldogs, Player of the Final Tyler Leedham

G14: Hazards, Player of the Series Poppy Beaumont

B16: Grasscutters, Player of the Series Tom Geappen

B18: Sharks, Player of the Series Jordan Shipp

G18: Bears, Player of the Final Charlotte Barnes

Referee of the Tournament: Meg Sauerwald

Female Club Champions: Bears 40, Magpies 40 (countback), Hazards 27.

Male Club Champions: Sharks 45, Bulldogs 40. Devonport 37.

Overall Club Champions: Bears 55, Bulldogs 50, Sharks 45, Hazards 42, Magpies 40, Rebels 39, Devonport 37.

Junior State Cup: Launceston TA.

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