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Newcastle City confident ahead of NSW Touch State Cup

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Newcastle City will enter the 2023 NSW Touch State Cup “brimming with confidence” after a fantastic weekend at home.

The association hosted the Hornets Regional Championships on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 October, with teams journeying from throughout the Hunter, Central Coast, Orange, Macksville and Port Macquarie to contest several elite divisions: 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, opens, seniors and opens mixed.

The home club fielded 13 sides… and collected six titles.

Newcastle prevailed in the men’s 20s, men’s open, open mixed, men’s 40s, senior mixed and men’s 55s.

The City outfit also finished runners up in women’s open and women’s 40s.

“It was a great weekend,” president Rebecca Jackson said.

“We tackled the Country Championships in Mudgee a fortnight ago and that went well for us, too.

“Although we only took seven teams there, we returned with the senior mixed crown and had several others reach the grand finals.

“However, another week’s training made all the difference for the Hornets showpiece event, which included a few invitational sides from outside the region.

“All up, there were 13 clubs and 48 teams represented [in Newcastle].

“But, our standout was the men’s 20s.

“We have 10 kids in that [squad] who were members of Newcastle’s under-16 boys, which won the state title in March.

“They’re playing against 18-19-20-year-olds and holding their own.

“So, they are absolutely amazing to watch.

“As for the older men’s teams, we had to combine the 50s, 55s and 60s… in fact, all the sides were from Newcastle, which was terrific.

“I guess a lot of the older senior outfits are Sydney-based across the state.

“And, because our tournament was a regional event, they wouldn’t come up for it.

“So, they played each other and our women’s 50s also joined the 40s’ pool, so it was a good training run for them as well.”

But, the big prize is the prestigious State Cup, which will be played at the Regional Sporting Complex and Tuffins Lane, Port Macquarie, from Friday 1 to Sunday 3 December.

And, following the success at the weekend, the mood within Newcastle City is buoyant.

“Yeah, it’s super positive among the players,” Jackson told the Newcastle Weekly.

“We will take 13 teams – from our 20s’ divisions, opens right through to the women’s 50s and the men’s 60s – to Port Macquarie.

“One side, our women’s open, was a red-hot favourite to capture its division on Sunday.

“They were so impressive across the weekend.

“However, they didn’t play their best game in the decider and were defeated 1-0 by Central Coast.

“Although they didn’t prevail, they’re building nicely for the main event in December.

“Newcastle was runner-up last year to Manly, who boast Australian representatives Jess Potts and Rachel Jeffs, at the State Cup.

“So, I’m expecting them to bounce back.

“It’s probably a good time to lose now and save the win, hopefully, for the State Cup.

“But, we’re taking plenty of momentum into that championship.

“For example, our men’s open team accounted for Doyalson at the weekend.

“It was a really tight game, which is what you want when you’re preparing for a major competition.

“Plus, Doyalson is obviously an exceptionally strong side.

“So, to beat them was a great outcome for Newcastle.

“The boys were just full of confidence… and they have been training the house down.

“It showed they’re clicking at the right time.

“Again, look at our 20s.

“Maitland knocked them out of the semi-finals at the Country Championships.

“Then, on Sunday, we beat them by two in the grand final [on Sunday].

“I think we’ll give the State Cup a good shake.”

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