ORGANISERS of this weekend’s Viking Challenge have high hopes for the 20th annual tournament.
“We have great expectations for this year’s tournament, being the 20th year, we’re hoping it will be the best one yet,” organiser Jarred Allen said.
“We’ve got 110 teams from all over Australia, players from Perth, Cairns, Maroochydore and several other Sydney teams so it should be a great carnival. It’s six-a-side so its action packed, fast and furious. People watch soccer at the senior level and it could end up nil all after 90 minutes, that’s not case with six-a-side you see 10 and 15 goals scored in a single game so it’s very entertaining.”
Action kicks off at Boronia Park on Saturday at 8.30am and won’t stop until 5pm when the teams will adjourn to the Lakeside Tavern for a fun night with a band and the draw for the next day’s play will be carried out. The following day action will again kick off at 8.30am with finals in the open men’s, open women’s, over 35s men’s and over 30s women’s finals scheduled for around 4pm.
In the huge field of contenders several local sides are expected to figure amongst the finals action.
“Local side are always in the hunt,” Jarred said.
“In the men’s the Custom Gas Australia side have won in the past and should give it a shake. It’s a team made up of former locals who grew up playing in the Great Lakes, the Navy are also coming back so they’ll be thereabouts as well.”
In the women’s local side Perry’s Girls On Top are expected to feature as well.
“It’s made up of the Green Point Rovers girls and they’ve won and featured in finals in the past so they’ll be one to watch. There’s also the TBA side from Sydney, they boast a few Matildas (national side) futsal players so they’ll tough to beat.”
The almost un-backable favourites in the women’s over 30s will be the local Senior Stacks side.
“They’ve previously been known just as Stacks and they’ve won the women’s five years in a row and this year they’ve moved up into the over 30s. They feature a few former Matildas, so they’ll be very tough to beat.”
With a fun-filled weekend planned organisers have also teamed up with Great Lakes Council to promote a no drink-driving message.
"Being a Good Sports club, the Great Lakes United Football Club is proactive at a club level in their approach to sport and alcohol,” council’s road safety officer Becky Hunter said.
“This collaboration with Great Lakes Council provides them with the opportunity to showcase their responsible approach to alcohol by promoting the drink drive message throughout the duration of the weekend.”
Jarred also encouraged participants and spectators alike to behave responsibly.
“We want the participants of the Viking Challenge to come to the Great Lakes and enjoy the competition and a drink or two with their team mates and other participants over the course of the weekend, importantly we also want people to drink responsibly if they are driving.” Jarred said.
Manager of the Lakeside Tavern, Phil Love, agrees.
“We have a breath testing machine in place for people to test their blood alcohol concentration prior to driving and will also provide a courtesy bus to take participants home. Our venue will be promoting the new transport for NSW drink drive campaign ‘Drink Driving – What’s your Plan B?’ to remind our clientele to find another way home instead of drinking and driving.”