The three-day Coffs Coast Rugby 10s Challenge kicked off on the first day of the school holidays, Monday June 28 for both boys and girls aged under 10-16.
The challenge started with a meet and greet, warm up session with the best female rugby athletes in Australia from the Super W Competition, sharing many handy hints and tips to all the participants, then into some ball handling drills, shadowing and 10s rugby in the rain.
Thank you Queensland Reds Brumbies Rugby and Melbourne Rebels.
Participants came from the mountains to the sea, areas including Lismore, Dorrigo, Brisbane, Tweed, Heads, Coffs Harbour, Newcastle, Maitland and our kids from Forster and Gloucester, creating new found friendships, learning and planning 10s rugby.
Unfortunately COVID-19 restrictions impacted many teams and participants from attending, and the NSW Waratahs and Western Force helping the next generation.
Covid and mandatory mask wearing did not hinder the opportunity for engagement for all present.
The event ran smoothly under the guidance of the NSW Waratahs development squad, with a major focus on the core values of pride, respect, inclusion and accountability, shown on and off the field by competitors, officials and spectators.
Riley the man mountain, he was a pleasure to have. Wasn't scared to have a crack at anything and always lead from the front.Paul Butcher
The Lower Mid North Coast had four players attend the Coffs Tens Challenge, Olivia and Riley Marsh from Gloucester, Noah Dodds and Ozzie Wiltshire from Forster.
The Lower Mid North Coast kids should be commended as officials have stated the respect, engagement and quality of rugby from all four was of the highest level.
These kids showed great skills and athleticism across the park.
Playing for the under 16s Snappers, Olivia Marsh showed natural ability and amazing speed, not only being one of the top try scorers for her team but being defensively strong and fast enough to cover both sides of the field preventing many tries from the opposition.
Under 14s Snappers team-member, Riley Marsh, who is described as a ' big strapping lad' is strong and hard to stop when he gets going.
His clearing of the ruck seemed effortless as he pushed and pulled opposition players to the side.
"Riley the man mountain, he was a pleasure to have. Wasn't scared to have a crack at anything and always lead from the front," Paul Butcher said.
Noah Dodds, who played in the under 13s Snappers, showed his strength and ability, control and understanding of the game with strong running always getting across the attacking line and in defence was described as an absolute weapon.
"I'm surprised Noah has a head left, after ducking and weaving and putting his head in the ruck where he shouldn't. Noah stole more ball then any other player in the tournament and it was unfair in most games," Mr Butcher said.
Noah was also recognised for his attention to detail and quality of kicking.
And, Ozzie Wiltshire playing under 12s St Augustines, was also described as a weapon by many, running magical lines, scoring the most tries in the age group and being named the player of the tournament in under 12s.
Paul Butcher said: "Ozzie was a dynamic player that throws quality balls from scrum halfs to his flying number 10. A great kid that soaking up everything he can about rugby."
The Lower Mid North Coast Junior Rugby would like thank Waratahs Coffs Coast Rugby Challenge 2021 officials and a massive thank you to Paul Butcher and Candy Butcher from Coffs Harbour Snappers Rugby Union Football Club for welcoming our community.
A great time was had by all participants and families and we will all be returning to the Coffs Coast in 2022.
Did you know? Great Lakes Advocate online subscribers not only have 24/7 access to local and national news, sport, what's on and entertainment - they also have access to our print editions in digital format, with all the advertisements and classifieds at their fingertips.