By Cameron Smith
The Under 14 and Under 17 Female State Academy Championships at Maroochydore Multisports Complex have concluded after five days of tough competition.
The Gold Coast Sunsets were victorious in the Under 17 Female Championships beating North Queensland in a wet grand final by 20-points on Tuesday.
Brisbane North finished third beating Brisbane South by 19-points in the playoff for third place, and Sunshine Coast finished in 5th.
In the Under 14 Female Championships, North Queensland and Brisbane North remained undefeated in their three matches.
In the Under 14 Male Championships Brisbane South West, Gold Coast North and Central Queensland who remained undefeated.
Overall, it was a fantastic tournament showcasing 650 talented kids across Queensland as well as Northern Rivers and Papua New Guinea.
State Talent and Academies Manager, Mark Browning, said it was a fantastic weekend and that he was impressed with the development within the regions this year.
“All those outlying regions like PNG, Northern Rivers, North Queensland, Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Darling Downs are starting to see some progress, which is really good,” he said.
“It was a fantastic week and the effort by all players, coaches and all the staff were great, we couldn’t ask for more.”
“It’s been a long year for a lot of the players, so we wanted them to come here play with a bit of freedom and creativity and I think that was able to happen.”
A highlight of the Under 14 Male Championships was seeing Darren Poke (Brisbane South West), David Unage (Darling Downs) and Bennedict Baro (Wide Bay), from Papua New Guinea compete.
All three of the boys did really well for the regions, with Darren taking out the coaches’ award for Brisbane South West.
As part of the Championships the Under 14 boys and girls undertook an education session about social media, respect and responsibility, whilst the Under 17 girls had an orientation on what lies ahead for them next year.
Browning said, “the education sessions are a really important part of the program,”
“We think it is important to educate the Under 14s in these areas because they are just starting to be a part of the talent pathway.”
“It is also important to talk to the Under 17s girls about next year and the opportunities they have ahead, because who knows some of the girls might end up on the SUNS or Lions list, next year.”
Image: Charlie Dally-Watkins