Defence’s best touch football players have emerged from a three-year hiatus to take regional supremacy back to the field at the ADF Touch Association (ADFTA) Defence National Championships (DEFNATS).
CAPTION: ACT/NSW Country’s Squadron Leader Danny Bretherton, left, works hard to evade the desperate defence of North Queensland’s Corporal Andrew Cooper. Story by Squadron Leader Peter Croce. Photo Supplied.
The DEFNATS took more than 240 Defence personnel to the Gold Coast from October 1 to 7 to compete across men’s, women’s and mixed competitions for personnel across Opens, Masters and Senior age groups.
North Queensland won the Men’s Open title in a narrow 8-7 win over South Queensland, ACT/NSW Country took a convincing 6-1 win over South Queensland in the Women’s Opens, and the Camels won the Seniors with a 12-9 win over North Queensland in a high-scoring final.
DEFNATS coordinator Squadron Leader Steve Edwards said the tournament had been a standout and fitting return after a three-year COVID-induced break.
“The purpose of the DEFNATs is to promote Touch in the Defence community by enabling Defence members to be involved in an elite national level event, and this year’s tournament was a standout,” Squadron Leader Edwards said.
“Touch is a growing sport within Defence because it allows a high-intensity, low-impact mode of exercise and brings a sense of competition, teamwork, fun and camaraderie to the playing and support group – we had players as young as 18 and up to 57 years old.
“We had more than 240 people in attendance, including 195 players, 19 coaches, six selectors, two physiotherapists and 25 referees.
“DEFNATS is a competitive tournament and is used to pick teams for upcoming elite civilian representative tournaments and also look at representatives for future engagement within the Pacific Sports Program.
“Defence has historically had a strong touch football talent pool and we currently have Private Drew Price knocking on the door of an Australian World Cup spot, and Corporal Sam Whiteside is one of the NSW top 45 referees and shaping towards selection for the 2024 World Cup in England.”
The DEFNATS is used as a key tool in the development of players, coaches, referees and selectors and is accredited to provide elite and nationally-sanctioned training to develop Defence personnel in the sport.
Teams have been announced to represent the ADF in a series of high-profile civilian tournaments with the Men’s and Women’s Opens teams competing in the Queensland State Cup from Nov 25-27 and a Men’s Over 30s plus a Masters Mixed team competing at the highly competitive Australian National Touch League from March 8 to 11 next year.
ADFTA also has a number of officials involved in these competitions as high-level selectors and referees.