The sun was shining and kids were smiling as the 2022 Gold Coast Titans All Schools Touch event reached the halfway point today.
More than 6000 participants showcased some great touch football, with the action taking to 30 fields at the world class Gold Coast Performance Centre at Runaway Bay on the Gold Coast.
The 2022 Gold Coast Titans All Schools Touch also welcomed the return of international and interstate teams, with schools travelling from South Australia, New South Wales, New Zealand and Singapore to join their Queensland counterparts for the event.
Wilderness School from South Australia made the trip north for the first time, something that 18 Girls captain Eliza Corbin said has been extremely beneficial.
“I think we’ve really stepped up while being here, and I think the couple of days of focusing on touch and getting a lot more games than what we’re used to has really been beneficial for us,” Corbin said.
“We’ve grown heaps just by being here for a couple of days.
“We definitely knew we were in for a challenge against all of the Queensland teams, but we’ve been able to rise up to it and it’s been good to play against some good opposition,” she said.
Not only has it been the on field action that Wilderness School have loved, but getting out to see the picturesque Gold Coast while in town.
“We came up a bit earlier to make the most of it, and did some touristy things around here which was really nice,” Corbin said.
“Coming to a state where touch football is a big sport, it’s great to see the atmosphere and be a part of that. It’s been good to be here with all the girls and soak it up together,” she said.
With day three marking the first full day of competition for the 18s divisions, Corbin said her team’s sights are still firmly set on Sunday’s finals.
“That’s definitely something that we believe we can strive to achieve so if we can get there that would be amazing. But being here and getting a couple of wins is a win in itself,” Corbin said.
“We’ve had a really successful couple of years at home, and we just knew we were ready to take the next step by coming here to All Schools. We knew it was going to be what we were ready for, and that’s what pushed us to come to the Gold Coast and play against the best.
“The support that we’ve got from our teachers, coordinators, coaches and everyone from Wilderness has really helped us to become the team we are today, we couldn’t do it without them,” she said.
One of many New Zealand schools making the trip to the Gold Coast is Otago Boys High School. 18 Boys captain Hamish Faulks said his team have enjoyed their time so far.
“It’s been really good, all the teams have been really good competition and it’s been good to get out on the field and play against all the different teams,” Faulks said.
“This is one of the biggest touch football tournaments in the world, and we thought we might challenge ourselves.
“It’s a different style of touch football than we’re used to, and a way faster game here in Australia,” he said.
Faulks said the Gold Coast Titans All Schools has helped his team lay some really solid foundations for their future.
“We’ve never played touch football like this back home, so all the boys have been learning heaps,” Faulks said.
“This tournament for us has been about building our culture, we’ve really come together as a team over the last few days.
“Being away from home, and being in a team environment, it means a lot to me and my family for me to be here and represent my school and New Zealand,” he said.
Hamilton Girls High School crossed the ditch from New Zealand to join the 2022 Gold Coast Titans All Schools event, something that 18 Girls captain Amarnee Shepherd said has been a great learning experience for her team.
“It’s so fun and so hot here at All Schools – we’re not used to this weather back home,” Shepherd said.
“We’re not used to playing so fast, everyone here is so fast. But that’s good for us, it’s good for us to get a feel for the Australian style.
“It was nice to be able to do our haka before the game as well – that’s our way of acknowledging our opposition and throwing down the challenge to them.“We love showing everyone our Maori side, and show them what we can bring to the sport of touch football,” she said.
Shepherd said it’s also been good to experience the Gold Coast and all it has to offer while they’ve been in Australia.
“We’ve been to all the theme parks and Australian Outback Spectacular which was really cool,” Shepherd said.
“It helped us get away from touch football for a little bit, before we came back here to play and get stuck in,” she said.
Tanglin Trust School from Singapore have been coming to the Gold Coast Titans All Schools for a number of years, and 18 Girls player Gigi Coulson said it’s something they look forward to every year.
“This trip is the icing on the cake for us every year, we’re always very excited and very energetic every time we come,” Coulson said.
“It’s definitely lived up to our expectations again – just seeing the culture here and how amazing all the teams are.“All the teams are so positive and consistent and it’s such a huge inspiration to us,” she said.
“It’s a whole other world here – the touch football community here is such a big one and it’s so exciting for us to be a part of it,” added teammate Hannah Wilford.
“We’re so lucky to come here every year and learn from these amazing teams. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for us,” she said.
Teammate Ariana Khanbabi said the best thing has been playing on field one with the livestream, giving an opportunity for their friends, family and school mates in Singapore to support from afar.
“It’s so amazing to have the livestream, and for us to get a couple of games on field one,” Khanbabi said.
“Our physical education department is watching from home tonight so shout out to them. But it’s also great that all our family and friends from back home can watch too,” she said.
The 2022 Gold Coast Titans All Schools Touch competition will come to a head on Saturday, with the finals across the 13 Girls, 13 Boys, 15 Girls and 15 Boys set to be played, and winners to be crowned, before the 18 Girls, 18 Boys and 18 Mixed finals on Sunday.
For updated draws and results – click here.
By Phoebe Maher