Austag introduces touch to city?s smallest players

A NEW season of Gladstone Junior Touch Association fixtures gets under way at Briffney Creek on Monday with a new program catering for beginners to the sport.

In addition to regular fixtures, an Austag program aimed at students in school years one and two who are new to the game, will be conducted by co-ordinator Karen Larose and fellow qualified coaches.

Larose said juniors involved in Austag would learn basic skills of the game such as catching and passing the ball as well as participating in drills and minigames.

Young players will spend six months in the program before then being moved into the junior grade competition. Between 70-100 juniors are expected to take part in the inaugural program.

In addition, more than 30 junior teams will line up for the first round of three weeks of trial matches.

GJTA president Craig Wilson said the number of teams contesting fixtures had risen for the past two seasons and he was looking forward to another busy year of competition.

In addition to Gladstone fixtures, other representative matches will feature throughout the year including the mid-year Queensland Junior State Cup carnival at the Glasshouse Mountains.

He said the association's development program for junior referees was also proving a success, with 25 young officials on the books for the 2006.

Juniors participating in the Austouch program are asked to meet at the Gladstone Touch Association fields at Briffney Creek for Monday's 4.30pm-5.30pm session.

Austouch players, who must be accompanied by an adult when signing on for the program, will receive a pack containing a hat, water bottle and ball upon payment of their $30 registration fee.

Touch fixture registration is also $30. For more information on junior fixtures phone Craig Wilson on 0416 034 081. For Austouch inquiries phone Karen Larose on 4978 5649.

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