Mount Isa touch players compete in two national competitions

A group of touch football star players from Mount Isa competed in two national competitions in Coff’s Harbour from March 9-12.

NATIONAL LEVEL: Mount Isa players at Coffs Harbour national competitions; Paulina Raitilava, Gavin Bunney, Ashleigh Burke, Kyle Woolfe, Matthew Harvey, Robyn Jakeman. Photo: supplied

NATIONAL LEVEL: Mount Isa players at Coffs Harbour national competitions; Paulina Raitilava, Gavin Bunney, Ashleigh Burke, Kyle Woolfe, Matthew Harvey, Robyn Jakeman. Photo: supplied

Ashleigh Burke represented the Queensland Cowboys in the national Elite Eight touch football competition while several players from Mount Isa competed in NTL (National Touch League).

Burke said it was an honour to play for a fifth year, and co-captain the team for a second year.

“It’s always a really nice thing to be able to play for these teams and then be able to co-captain as well is really special,” Burke said.

It’s always a really nice thing to be able to play for these teams and then be able to co-captain as well is really special.

Ashleigh Burke

The Elite Eight includes eight teams from all over Australia, including three from Queensland, four from NSW, and the Alliance which makes up the rest of Australia.

Teams from Queensland are the Titans, the Broncos, and the Cowboys. 

Burke is the only Cowboys player from Mount Isa, and joins players from Townsville, Rockhampton, Toowomba, Brisbane, and Bundaberg.

ELITE EIGHT: Ashleigh Burke competing in the prestigous Elite Eight national Touch Football competition in Coffs Harbour. Photo: supplied.

ELITE EIGHT: Ashleigh Burke competing in the prestigous Elite Eight national Touch Football competition in Coffs Harbour. Photo: supplied.

Her team competed three weekend training camps in Brisbane in preparation for the competition, which celebrated its 21st anniversary this year.

The games are live-streamed on Touch Football Australia’s website and still available to watch.

At the same time, fellow Mount Isa sportswomen Robyn Jakeman and Paulina Raitilava competed in the Women’s 40 NTL.

Last year Raitilava competed in the North Queensland Cyclones Women’s 40s state of origin team, who were the 2016 NTL champions.

Jakeman said the team this year was entirely new to NTL level, and gained a lot from the experience.

“We played very well, and the new players learnt a lot from the tournament,” Jakeman said.

“Paulina is our co-captain, she plays on the link and is excellent in attack at defence,” Jakeman said.

The NTL team came fifth in the national competition.

Jakeman joked about the difference between Elite Eight and NTL.

“She (Burke) gets to play in a stadium on a really flash field, and we get to play out the back,” Jakeman said.

Another local player, John Pattison played in the North Queensland Men’s 55 which made it to the semi-finals.