It was perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime moment – when the NSW Combined High Schools 18s Girls beat the reigning champions, Queensland Secondary Schools Touch at Touch Football Australia’s National Youth Championship.
And Gumma’s Matiese Trisley was there, a member of the 14-strong team that had been training solidly in the two months leading up to the four-day tournament in Caloundra (September 13-16).
“We’d won all seven of our games to reach the grand final but we really hadn’t expected to do as well as we had,” Matiese said.
“So it was a bit surreal being there, waiting to go on but we also knew we’d done all the work and now was the moment to really put it into effect.”
The game was a nail-biter with Queensland scoring first but then both teams going try for try.
NSW was ahead by two goals at half time and that was when all the trust and belief that coach Les Watego had built into and between his players really came to the fore.
“He told us that if we could hold our defence the win would be ours … the last 30 seconds were so intense, Queensland attacked and almost scored but one of our girls made a brilliant touch … when the hooter went it was the best feeling!”
The final score was 7-6 with the NSW girls having won against the ‘juggernauts’ of youth Touch Football.
Matiese’s mother, Shelley, said it was an incredible moment, watching from the grand stand.
“I was so nervous … Les had really taken a chance and chosen a lot of country girls for the team and they worked hard for him. Their win reflected on how much he had made them believe in themselves,” Shelley said.
She said the game was streamed live on the Touch Football Australia website and that support from friends back home in the Valley was incredible.
“People were sending texts and videos from home – its lovely the way the community support our young people.”